The three members of the lecanicephalidean tapeworm family Eniochobothriidae are unusual among tapeworms in that they lack a vagina and possess a series of expanded proglottids forming a trough at the anterior end of their body. They exclusively parasitise cownose rays of the genus Rhinoptera (Myliobatiformes: Rhinopteridae). New collections from six of the nine known species of cownose rays from the waters off Australia, Mexico, Mozambique, Senegal, Taiwan and the United States (off Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina) yielded eight new species and a new genus of eniochobothriids. Here we erect Amiculucestus, gen. nov. and describe six of the eight new species – four in the new genus and two in Eniochobothrium – expanding the number of genera in the family to two and the number of described species in the family to nine. Morphological work was based on light and scanning electron microscopy. The tree resulting from a maximum likelihood analysis of sequence data for the D1–D3 region of the 28S rDNA gene for 11 species of eniochobothriids supports the reciprocal monophyly of both genera. The mode of attachment to the mucosal surface of the spiral intestine of the host was investigated using histological sections of worms in situ. These cestodes appear to use the anterior trough-like portion of their body, which consists of an unusual series of barren proglottids, rather than their scolex, to attach to the mucosal surface. Based on our new collections, we estimate that the total number of eniochobothriids across the globe does not exceed 27 species.
Vol. 36 • No. 10
Vol. 36 • No. 10