Combined analyses of morphological and molecular data were used to resolve the phylogenetic relationships within Macrobiotidae (Eutardigrada). Morphological data were analysed, by a cladistic approach using a matrix composed of 15 taxa with 16 characters to obtain a phylogenetic reconstruction. Molecular data were obtained by sequencing the Cytochrome c Oxidase subunit I gene in seven species of Macrobiotidae and one of Eohypsibiidae (used as outgroup). Neither morphological nor molecular analyses supports a monophyletic clade for Macrobiotidae, whereas both support a well defined evolutionary line (Murrayinae) within the family. We propose to elevate this clade to family level (Murrayidae) and to keep temporarily valid the family Macrobiotidae whilst amending its diagnosis. Murrayidae opens an interesting evolutionary prospective, because the entire line has differentiated without sexual reproduction, constituting an example of evolution of asexual lineages.
Phylogenetic analysis in Macrobiotidae (Eutardigrada, Parachela): a combined morphological and molecular approach / GIUDETTI R.; GANDOLFI A.; ROSSI V.; BERTOLANI R.. - In: ZOOLOGICA SCRIPTA. - ISSN 0300-3256. - 34(2005), pp. 235-244. [10.1111/j.1463-6409.2005.00193.x]
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