Molecular Phylogeny of the Marine Planktonic Dinoflagellate Oxytoxum and Corythodinium (Peridiniales, Dinophyceae)

Fernando Gómez,

Kevin C. Wakeman,

Aika Yamaguchi,

Hisayoshi Nozaki


The dinoflagellate generaOxytoxum and Corythodinium that account for more than fifty species are widespread in warm oceans. These genera have been considered synonyms and thecal plate designations varied among authors. Several planktonic and sand-dwelling genera have been placed within the Oxytoxaceae. We obtained the first molecular data based on small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene sequences ofOxytoxum and Corythodinium, including the type species (O. scolopax and C. tessellatum) and C. frenguellii and C. cristatum. The three species of Corythodinium branched together a strong support [bootstrap (BP) of 98%]. This formed a sister clade with moderate support (BP 75%) with O. scolopax that supported the generic split. Oxytoxaceae should exclusively remain for Oxytoxum and Corythodinium, as an independent group, unrelated to any other known dinoflagellate. Oxytoxum was characterized by spindle-shaped cells with an anterior narrow epitheca, an apical spine and little cingular displacement. Corythodinium exhibits relatively broad cell shapes, with wider epitheca and greater cingular displacement, and an obovate or pentangular anterior sulcal plate that noticeably indented the epitheca. This suggested the need of new combinations for species that were described as Oxytoxum and possessed the characteristics of Corythodinium.

Słowa kluczowe: 18S ribosomal RNA, armored Dinophyta, Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, phytoplankton, SSU rDNA phylogeny, taxonomy, thecate Dinoflagellata

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