Molecular Identity of Holomastigotes (Spirotrichonymphea, Parabasalia) with Descriptions of Holomastigotes flavipes n. sp. and Holomastigotes tibialis n. sp.

Stephen J. Taerum, Daniel E. Jasso-Selles, Megan Wilson, Jessica L. Ware, David Sillam-Dussès, Jan Šobotník, Gillian Gile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Holomastigotes is a protist genus (Parabasalia: Spirotrichonymphea) that resides in the hindguts of “lower” termites. It can be distinguished from other parabasalids by spiral flagellar bands that run along the entire length of the cell, an anterior nucleus, a reduced or absent axostyle, the presence of spherical vesicles inside the cells, and the absence of ingested wood particles. Eight species have been described based on their morphology so far, although no molecular data were available prior to this study. We determined the 18S rRNA gene sequences of Holomastigotes from the hindguts of Hodotermopsis sjostedti, Reticulitermes flavipes, Reticulitermes lucifugus, and Reticulitermes tibialis. Phylogenetic analyses placed all sequences in an exclusive and well-supported clade with the type species, Holomastigotes elongatum from R. lucifugus. However, the phylogenetic position of Holomastigotes within the Spirotrichonymphea was not resolved. We describe two new species, Holomastigotes flavipes n. sp. and Holomastigotes tibialis n. sp., inhabiting the hindguts of R. flavipes and R. tibialis, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • Hodotermopsis
  • phylogenetics
  • Reticulitermes
  • symbiosis
  • termite hindgut

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology

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