Nucleariid amoebae are naked amoebae, generally characterized by a spherical or sometimes flattened body with radiating filopodia. Most species preferentially consume algal prey or cyanobacteria. Phylogenetic analyses of the small-subunit rRNA coding regions from four nucleariid amoebae place these species near the origin of the animal-fungal divergence, together with the choanoflagellate-Corallochytrium and the ichthyosporean clades. The species Nuclearia delicatula, N. moebiusi, and N. simplex form a monophyletic group, while ATCC 30864, tentatively but possibly incorrectly assigned to Nuclearia sp., represents a separate line of descent. These nucleariids are unrelated to the lineage containing the testate filose amoebae (Testaceafilosia). Our findings expand the morphological and phylogenetic diversity of protists at the animal-fungal divergence.
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Vol. 48 • No. 3