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Morphology, ontogeny and the molecular phylogeny of Agolohymena aspidocauda nov. gen., nov. spec., a new freshwater tetrahymenid ciliate from Idaho, U.S.A, are described. The ontogeny and histophagous mode of nutrition are similar to those of Deltopylum rhabdoides Fauré-Fremiet and Mugard, 1946. The new genus is placed with Deltopylum in the resurrected family Deltopylidae Song & Wilbert, 1989. We emend the diagnostic features of the family to include division by polytomy, right and left somatic kineties extending into the preoral suture, crook-shaped or sigmoid adoral membranelles 1 and 2, markedly reduced adoral membranelle 3 and a tetrahymenid silverline pattern. The main diagnostic features of the new genus are a disc-shaped caudal ciliary array and formation of two types of resting cysts, one smooth and the other bearing tangled tubular or cylindrical lepidosomes. Nuclear small subunit ribosomal RNA gene and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene sequences place the new genus basal within the order Tetrahymenida, well separated from members of the family Tetrahymenidae (Lambornella and Tetrahymena) and also from other tetrahymenids (Colpidium, Dexiostoma, Glaucoma). The genetic divergences between this species and other genera in Tetrahymenida are large enough to suggest placement of the new genus in a separate family. This corroborates the morphological data, since the elaborate caudal ciliary array and the lepidosome-covered resting cyst of this species are not found in other Tetrahymenidae.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. © 2009, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License ( The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at European Journal of Protistology, doi: 10.1016/j.ejop.2010.04.003

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