Cladistic analysis of a numerical data matrix describing 27 characters for species of Taenia resulted in 4 most parsimonious phylogenetic trees (174 steps; consistency index = 0.28; homoplasy index = 0.72; retention index = 0.48). Monophyly for Taenia is diagnosed by the metacestode that is either a cysticercus or a form derived from a bladder-like larva; no other unequivocal synapomorphies are evident. Tree structure provides no support for recognition of a diversity of tribes or genera within the Taeniinae: Fimbriotaeniini and Taeniini have no phylogenetic basis. Hydatigera, Fimbriotaenia, Fossor, Monordotaenia, Multiceps, Taeniarhynchus, Tetratirotaenia must be subsumed within Taenia as synonyms. Taenia saginata and Taenia asiatica are sister species and distantly related to Taenia solium. Cospeciation with respect to carnivorous definitive hosts and Taenia appears to be limited. Although felids are putative ancestral hosts, contemporary associations appear to have resulted from extensive host-switching among felids, canids, hyaenids, and others. In contrast, relationships with herbivorous intermediate hosts are indicative of more pervasive coevolution; rodents as intermediate hosts are postulated as ancestral for the Taeniidae, Taenia Echinococcus. Patterns appear consistent with rapid shifts between phylogenetically unrelated carnivores but among those that historically exploited a common prey resource within communities in specific biogeographic regions.
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