**Laoxyuris laonasti** n. gen., n. sp. (Nematoda: Syphaciinae) parasite of Laonastes aenigmamus (Rodentia: Diatomyidae) : morphology, biology, taxonomy, phylogeny
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Infection, genetics and evolution. - Amsterdam
, p. 113-121
University of Antwerp
A new Oxyurid genus and species are described in a rodent recently discovered in Lao PDR: Laonastes aenigmamus which happens to be the single survivor of the Diatomyidae, a family considered to be extinct since the Miocene. The morphological characters of the new parasite species allow classifying it within the Syphaciinae Railliet, 1916, a subfamily whose members are exclusively parasites of Lagomorpha and Rodents. Male Syphaciinae have developed several types of ventral cuticular ornamentation used to firmly grip the female during mating. The ornamental characters observed in the new species include a finger like appendix, which, until now, has not been described in the subfamily. The originality of this apparatus justifies the creation of a new genus and a new species for the pinworm parasite of Laonastes. Using morphological characters, the new species is analyzed phylogenetically to describe its affinities with representatives of the main groups distinguished within the Syphaciinae. The phylogenetic study produces a cladogram similar to the phylogeny recently proposed for the hosts of the subfamily and in agreement with a close association of the Diatomyidae with the Ctenodactylidae. Such a phenomenon of cophylogeny is interpreted as the result of the existence of a strict specificity between the Syphaciinae and their respective hosts, due to the very close adaptation of their life cycle with the behaviors of their hosts. In Lagomorpha and Rodents, caecotrophy and grooming activities allow a direct transmission of the parasite eggs and favor successive self-infestations, increasing the chances for the parasite to maintain itself in the same host species but decreasing the probability of host switching. The resulting high host specificity allowed the Syphaciinae to out-compete other pinworms and maintain themselves in their specific host over millions of years.