Peniculine ciliates have been recognized as a distinct higher taxon of ciliates for almost 50 years. However, phylogenetic relationships within the Subclass Peniculia are still unsettled. To contribute to our understanding of their phylogeny and provide evidence for the position of Urocentrum turbo, we sequenced its small subunit (SS) rRNA gene and the SSrRNA genes from Lembadion bullinum, Frontonia sp., Paramecium caudatum, Paramecium multimicronucleatum, Paramecium putrinum, and Paramecium woodruffi. Urocentrum turbo was the only one of these species not to exhibit a shortened Helix E10_1, which we conclude characterizes the “higher” peniculines. Except for U. turbo, the peniculines are strongly supported as a monophyletic clade with Lembadion, Frontonia, and Paramecium species forming separate and strongly supported clades by bootstrap analysis using distance matrix, maximum parsimony, and maximum likelihood methods. Urocentrum turbo is associated with different lineages, depending upon the analysis used. The Paramecium species form at least four clades with the Paramecium aurelia subgroup being the most derived. We conclude that the Subclass Peniculia should be divided into two orders, the Order Urocentrida and Order Peniculida, with the latter order having two suborders, the Suborder Frontoniina and Peniculina. We place U. turbo with the peniculines because of shared morphological and stomatogenetic features.
The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Vol. 47 • No. 4
Vol. 47 • No. 4