Taxonomy and Molecular Phylogenetics of Ensiculiferaceae, fam. nov. (Peridiniales, Dinophyceae), with Consideration of their Life-history

In the current circumscription, the Thoracosphaeraceae comprise all dinophytes exhibiting calcified coccoid cells produced during their life-history. Species hitherto assigned to Ensiculifera and Pentapharsodinium are mostly based on the monadoid stage of life-history, while the link to the coccoid stage (occasionally treated taxonomically distinct) is not always resolved. We investigated the different life-history stages and DNA sequence data of Ensiculifera mexicana and other species occurring in samples collected from all over the world. Based on concatenated ribosomal RNA gene sequences Ensiculiferaceae represented a distinct peridinalean branch, which showed a distant relationship to other calcareous dinophytes. Both molecular and morphological data (particularly of the coccoid stage) revealed the presence of three distinct clades within Ensiculiferaceae, which may include other dinophytes exhibiting a parasitic life-history stage. At a higher taxonomic level, Ensiculiferaceae showed relationships to parasites and endosymbionts (i.e., Blastodinium and Zooxanthella) as well as to dinophytes harbouring diatoms instead of chloroplasts. These unexpected phylogenetic relationships are corroborated by the presence of five cingular plates in all such taxa, which differs from the six cingular plates of most other Thoracosphaeraceae. We herein describe Ensiculiferaceae, emend the descriptions of Ensiculifera and Pentapharsodinium, erect Matsuokaea and provide several new combinations at the species level.


Dinoflagellate, molecular phylogenetics, parasite, plate overlap, rRNA, thecal plate

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Li Zhun, Mertens Kenneth, Gottschling Marc, Gu Haifeng, Söhner Sylvia, Price Andrea M., Marret Fabienne, Pospelova Vera, Smith Kirsty F., Carbonell-Moore Consuelo, Nezan Elisabeth, Bilien Gwenael, Shin Hyeon Ho (2020). Taxonomy and Molecular Phylogenetics of Ensiculiferaceae, fam. nov. (Peridiniales, Dinophyceae), with Consideration of their Life-history. Protist. 171 (5). 125759 (26p.).,

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