Phylogenetic relationships among nematodes of the strongylid superfamily Metastrongyloidea were analyzed using partial sequences from the large-subunit ribosomal RNA (LSU rRNA) and small-subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) genes. Regions of nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) were amplified by polymerase chain reaction, directly sequenced, aligned, and phylogenies inferred using maximum parsimony. Phylogenetic hypotheses inferred from the SSU rRNA gene supported the monophyly of representative taxa from each of the 7 currently accepted metastrongyloid families. Metastrongyloid taxa formed the sister group to representative trichostrongyloid sequences based on SSU data. Sequences from either the SSU or LSU RNA regions alone provided poor resolution for relationships within the Metastrongyloidea. However, a combined analysis using sequences from all rDNA regions yielded 3 equally parsimonious trees that represented the abursate Filaroididae as polyphyletic, Parafilaroides decorus as the sister species to the monophyletic Pseudaliidae, and a sister group relationship between Oslerus osleri and Metastrongylus salmi. Relationships among 3 members of the Crenosomatidae, and 1 representative of the Skrjabingylidae (Skrjabingylus chitwoodorum) were not resolved by these combined data. However, members of both these groups were consistently resolved as the sister group to the other metastrongyloid families. These relationships are inconsistent with traditional classifications of the Metastrongyloidea and existing hypotheses for their evolution.
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