Family Rhopaliidae Loos, 1899
Document Type Article
Published in Keys to the Trematoda, vol. 2 (2005): 119-121 (eds., A. Jones, R.A. Bray and D.I. Gibson). Copyright 2005, CAB International and the Natural History Museum, London. Used by permission.
Members of the family Rhopaliidae Looss, 1899 include digenetic trematodes that are parasites of marsupials in the Nearctic and Neotropical regions. These forms are characterized by having two anteriorly directed proboscides armed with spines and situated bilaterally relative to the oral sucker. The family was first established by Looss (1899) as the Rhopaliadae. Braun (1901b) incorrectly spelled the subfamily name as Rhopaliadinae. These trematodes were further studied and redescribed by FUhrmann (1928) and Bresslau (1932), while Pratt (1902) appears to have been the first to consider the group to be related to the echinostomes. Viana (1924) emended the spelling of the family name to Rhopaliidae, which Skrjabin (1948c) considered a synonym of the Rhopaliadae. The spelling Rhopaliasidae was used by Yamaguti (1958). Travassos et al. (1969) established the subfamily Rhopaliasinae, and Yamaguti (1971) synonymized the Rhopaliasidae with the Rhopaliidae. The name Rhopalias was established by Stiles & Hassall (1898) to replace Rhopalophorus Diesing, 1850, which was pre-occupied by Ropalphorus Westwood, 1840 (Hymenoptera), with Distomum coronation Rudolphi, 1819 as the type-species. Rhopalophorus is synonymous with Rhopalias Stiles & Hassall, 1898. Lutz (1895) used the name Rhopalocephalus, without citing a taxon authority, in conjunction with the species names R. coronatus (Rudolphi, 1819) and R. horridus (Diesing, 1850). Stiles & Hassall (1898) did not mention Rhopalocephalus and, presumably, were unaware of it. It does not appear to have been used by other authors. Although Rhopalocephalus is the older name, Rhopalias is well established in the literature and we intend to petition the ICZN to declare Rhopalocephalus a nomen oblitum.