Phylogenetic hypothesis of 23 populations corresponding to 18 species of the digenean Haematoloechus from America, Europe, and Africa, based on ribosomal DNA 28S partial sequences (∼890 bp), is presented. Genetic divergence between the in-group and the out-groups ranged from 9.7 to 14.5% and within the in-group, from 0.9 to 12.2%. Eight most parsimonious trees 569 steps long were obtained, with a consistency index of 72%. Groups in the tree are not congruent with those in previous classification schemes of species in the genus, based on a small number of morphological characters. For this subset of Haematoloechus species, plesiomorphic hosts are species of Rana, with 2 colonizations to other amphibian groups. African species appear to have diverged after the separation of Gondwana and Laurasia. Therefore, South American species should appear as the closest relatives of African species when included in the analysis. The evidence presented suggests an ancestral wide distribution of North American representatives of the group, followed by successive contraction, amplification, and fragmentation of ranges and speciation events as a result of the intense volcanic activity in the central part of Mexico since the late Tertiary, the drying climate of western and central United States and northwestern Mexico from the early Eocene to the Pleistocene, and the glaciation during the Pleistocene.
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