Tapeworms Cladotaenia spp. are among the most important wildlife pathogens in birds of prey. The genus Cladotaenia is placed in the family Paruterinidae based on morphological characteristics and hosts. However, limited molecular information is available for studying the phylogenetic position of this genus in relation to other cestodes.
In this study, the complete mitochondrial (mt) genome of Cladotaenia vulturi was amplified using “Long-PCR” and then sequenced by primer walking. Sequence annotation and gene identification were performed by comparison with published flatworm mt genomes. The phylogenetic relationships of C. vulturi with other cestode species were established using the concatenated amino acid sequences of 12 protein-coding genes with Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood methods.
The complete mitochondrial genome of the Cladotaenia vulturi is 13,411 kb in size and contains 36 genes. The gene arrangement of C. vulturi is identical to those in Anoplocephala spp. (Anoplocephalidae), Hymenolepis spp. (Hymenolepididae) and Dipylidium caninum (Dipylidiidae), but different from that in taeniids owing to the order shift between the tRNA (L1) and tRNA (S2) genes. Phylogenetic analyses based on the amino acid sequences of the concatenated 12 protein-coding genes showed that the species in the Taeniidae form a group and C. vulturi is a sister taxon to the species of the family Taeniidae.
To our knowledge, the present study provides the first molecular data to support the early proposal from morphological evidence that the Taeniidae is a sister group to the family Paruterinidae. This novel mt genome sequence will be useful for further investigations into the population genetics, phylogenetics and systematics of the family Paruterinidae and inferring phylogenetic relationships among several lineages within the order Cyclophyllidea.