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<i>Discoplana malagasensis</i> sp. nov., a new turbellarian (Platyhelminthes: Polycladida: Leptoplanidae) symbiotic in an ophiuroid (Echinodermata), with a cladistic analysis of the <i>Discoplana/ Euplana</i> species

Publication Date
  • Animal Morphology
  • Animal Reproductive Organs
  • Biogeography
  • Cladistics
  • Identification Keys
  • Marine Invertebrates
  • New Species
  • Symbionts
  • Synonymy
  • Taxonomy
  • Discoplana Malagasensis
  • Ophiothrix Purpurea
  • Ophiuroidea [Brittlestars]
  • Polycladida
  • Turbellaria [Flatworms]
  • Isew
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Earth Science
  • Geography


A new species of polyclad flatworm from Papua New Guinea is described. It is found symbiotic in the ophiuroid Ophiothrix purpurea von Martens, 1867 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). Apparently it belongs to the taxon Discoplana Bock, 1913 and can be distinguished from the six previously described Discoplana species by its very short ejaculatory duct and a penial papilla covered with a penial sheath, but without any true sclerotised structures such as a stylet or spines. The cladistic analysis of the Discoplana/Euplana species, based on morphological features and including two outgroups, reveals that all species of Discoplana, except D. pacificola, form a monophyletic taxon, that is not a synonym of Euplana Girard, 1893. Therefore the name Discoplana is conserved and the new species will be described as Discoplana malagasensis sp. nov. A key for the Discoplana/Euplana group is provided. In this key the biogeographical distribution and possible synonyms are given.

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