Platyhelminthes or just Platyhelminth-like? Phylogenetic relationships of the main turbellarian groups
The phylum Platyhelminthes has been traditionally subdivided into four classes, viz. Turbellaria, Trematoda, Monogenea e Cestoda. However, phylogenetic analyses indicated that the class Turbellaria was not well defined due to the lack of clear synapomorphies. Those studies were initially performed on the basis of morphological data. They indicated that the phylum Platyhelminthes encompasses three monophyletic groups: Acoelomorpha, Catenulida and Rhabditophora. Molecular analyses, as well as studies combining morphological and molecular data, have indicated that the acoelomorphs are not members of the Platyhelminthes. This article is intended to discuss the phylogenetic relationships of the main groups comprising the turbellarians based on morphological and molecular characters, as well as the position of acoelomorphs in relation to other invertebrates.
Key words: acoels, catenulids, rhabditophorans, phylogeny, invertebrates.
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