Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Hydrobiol, Lab Protozoan Taxon & Ecol, Wuhan 430072, Peoples R China; Wuhan Univ, Wuhan 430072, Peoples R China
The phylogenetic relationships among peritrichs remain unresolved. In this study, the complete small subunit rRNA (SSrRNA) gene sequences of seven species (Epistylis galea, Campanella umbellaria, Carchesium polypinum, Zoothamnium arbuscula, Vaginicola crystallina, Ophrydium versatile, and Opercularia microdiscum) were determined. Trees were constructed using distance-matrix, maximum-likelihood and maximum-parsimony methods, all of which strongly supported the monophyly of the subclass Peritrichia. Within the peritrichs, 1) E. galea grouped with Opercularia microdiscum and Campanella umbellaria but not the other Epistylis species, which indicates that the genus Epistylis might not be monophyletic; 2) the topological position of Carchesium and Campanella suggested that Carchesium should be placed in the family Zoothammidae, or be elevated to a higher taxonomic rank, and that Campanella should be independent of the family Epistylididae, and probably be given a new rank; and 3) Opisthonecta grouped strongly with Asty/ozoon, which suggested that Opisthonecta species were not the ancestors of the stalked peritrichs.