Macroderoides minutus n. sp. is described based on specimens collected from the Florida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) from Orange Lake, Alachua County, Florida. The new species is the ninth recognized species of Macroderoides and is morphologically closest to Macroderoides flavus and Macroderoides typicus. It differs from both species in having a smaller body, ventral sucker larger than the oral sucker, substantially lower body length to width ratio, fewer and larger eggs, and other characters. A comparison of sequences of nuclear rDNA (partial 18S, complete ITS region, and partial 28S) of the new species, with sequences of 5 other Macroderoides, convincingly supports the status of M. minutus as a new species. Molecular phylogenetic analysis, including all North American Macroderoides species except for Macroderoides parvus, has demonstrated the presence of 2 distinct clades, 1 including Macroderoides spinifer (Macroderoides minutus n. sp. Macroderoides texanus) and the other including Macroderoides trilobatus (M. typicus M. flavus). The tree topology suggests that the similarity in body proportions among M. minutus n. sp., M. typicus M. flavus is not a result of close phylogenetic relationship. It has also revealed for the first time the phylogenetic affinities of M. flavus, which is the only North American member of Macroderoides that switched from holostean fishes to teleosts.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5