The systematic relationships of acanthocephalans, including Leptorhynchoides and Pseudoleptorhynchoides that occur in freshwater and marine fishes in Neartic and Neotropical regions, are enigmatic. Leptorhynchoides (3 species) and Pseudoleptorhynchoides (1 species) are presently classified in the Rhadinorhynchidae. However, recent molecular and morphological phylogenies have challenged the monophyly of this family. Sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA (large subunit, small subunit regions) and the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene of Leptorhynchoides thecatus and Pseudoleptorhynchoides lamothei were used in phylogenetic analyses with available sequences of 26 other acanthocephalans. Maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses were identical in placing both genera in the Illiosentidae. Bootstrap analyses also indicate that placement of these genera with members of Illiosentidae is reliably supported.
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