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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 50(6)

The occurrence of species flocks in the nematode genus Cloacina (Strongyloidea : Cloacininae), parasitic in the stomachs of kangaroos and wallabies

I. Beveridge, N. B. Chilton and D. M. Spratt

Australian Journal of Zoology 50(6) 597 - 620
Published: 30 December 2002


The occurrence of species flocks within the nematode genus Cloacina was examined using the criteria of host specificity, co-occurrence and monophyly. Species of Cloacina generally exhibited a high degree of host specificity, with most species occurring either in a single host species or in two closely related host species. The frequency distribution of numbers of component species of Cloacina per host species indicated that most host species harboured 2–4 species of nematodes, with an approximately exponential decline in the number of species of parasites to a maximum of 20 species of nematode per host species. Host species harbouring eight or more species of Cloacina were found within a single recent macropodid clade, but there was no correlation between evolutionary age of the host and the number of parasite species harboured. Sampling effort was significantly correlated with the number of nematode species found and, in partial regression analysis, subsumed the effects of host body size and geographic range, which were found to be significant correlates with the number of nematode species present in preliminary analyses. Analysis of co-occurrences of nematode species indicated significant variation between host species, with some hosts (e.g. Macropus agilis) most commonly harbouring a single species of Cloacina, while closely related host species (e.g. M. dorsalis) most commonly harboured numerous species. Parsimony analysis of species of Cloacina based on morphological data suggested that while small series of related nematode species could be identified within a single host species, the species flock in each host species is polyphyletic in origin. Species flocks contributed significantly to community richness in some host species.

Full text doi:10.1071/ZO02038

© CSIRO 2002

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