Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


Date of this Version



Systematic Parasitology (1999) 42: 1-12.


U.S. government work.


Evolutionary relationships of the Eucestoda have received intense but sporadic attention over the past century. Since 1996, the landscape has dramatically changed with respect to our knowledge of the phylogenetic relationships among the tapeworms. The 2nd International Workshop for Tapeworm Systematics (IWTS) held in Lincoln, Nebraska in October of that year provided the catalyst for development of novel hypotheses for inter-and intra-ordinal phylogeny. The working-group structure of the 2nd IWTS and results of phylogenetic studies are briefly introduced in the present manuscript. Higher-level phylogenies derived from parsimony analysis of independent data bases representing comparative morphology or molecular sequences were largely congruent and supported monophyly for the Eucestoda. The Caryophyllidea are basal; difossate forms such as the Pseudophyllidea are primitive; tetrafossates including the Tetraphyllidea, Proteocephalidea, Nippotaeniidea, Tetrabothriidea and Cyclophyllidea are derived; and hypotheses differed in the placement of the Trypanorhyncha and the Diphyllidea. These studies may provide a foundation for resolution of inter-and intra-ordinal relationships for the tapeworms. Additionally, the first comprehensive phylogenetic hypotheses for the Pseudophyllidea, Diphyllidea, Trypanorhyncha, the paraphyletic Tetraphyllidea + Lecanicephalidea, Proteocephalidea and Cyclophyllidea were developed during and subsequent to the 2nd IWTS. The stage is now set for continued and rapid advances in our understanding of the eucestodes. These studies have also served to re-emphasise the rich genealogical diversity of tapeworms and the temporally deep history for their origin. A co-evolutionary history and radiation of eucestodes may involve deep co-speciation with vertebrate host taxa, accompanied by some level of colonisation and extinction, extending into the Palaeozoic, minimally 350-420 million years ago.