Morphology and Phylogeny of Bryophryoides ocellatus N. G., N. Sp. (Ciliophora, Colpodea) from In Situ Soil Percolates of Idaho, U.S.A.

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We describe the morphology and 18S rDNA phylogeny of Bryophryoides ocellatus n. g., n. sp., a bryophryid ciliate inhabiting in situ soil percolates from Idaho, U.S.A. The new genus is distinguished from other bryophryid genera by a combination of the following features: (1) kreyellid (irregularly meshed) silverline pattern, (2) polymorphic adoral organelles in the preoral suture, (3) absence of vestibular kineties. In phylogenetic analyses, Bryophryoides ocellatus is most closely related to Bryophrya gemmea. The 18S rDNA sequence pairwise distance of 2% between these genera, while similar to that between many colpodidan species, exceeds that between some colpodidan genera (e.g. Mykophagophrys and Pseudoplatyophrya, 1.1%), further supporting establishment of the new genus. Topology hypothesis testing strongly supports the monophyly of the Colpodida including the bryophryids. Despite weak nodal support, tests of topology constraints narrowly reject the non-monophyly of the sequenced Bryophryidae (Bryophrya + Bryophryoides + Notoxoma). Likewise, the monophyletic origin of the sequenced Bryophryidae is indicated in the phylogenetic networks though with low support.