SSU rRNA genes of oxymonad protists from the hindgut of the wood-feeding termite Reticulitermes flavipes were PCR-amplified using a newly designed oxymonad-specific forward primer and a newly designed reverse primer specific for termite gut flagellates. After cloning, the clone library was sorted into four groups by RFLP analysis and nearly full-length SSU rRNA gene sequences were obtained for representative clones from each group. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that sequences of all four groups formed a monophyletic cluster with the only other existing SSU rRNA gene sequence of oxymonads. Using whole-cell hybridization with clone-specific fluorescently labeled probes, each of the four clone groups could be assigned to a specific morphotype, which were identified as Dinenympha gracilis, Dinenympha fimbriata, and so-far undescribed species of Pyrsonympha and Dinenympha. Our results demonstrate that the morphological variety of oxymonads is not caused by the presence of different developmental stages of the same organism, but that the various morphotypes represent different species.
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