Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Taxonomic description and 3D modelling of a new species of myzostomid (Annelida, Myzostomida) associated with black corals from Madagascar



Eenymeenymyzostoma nigrocorallium n. sp. is the first species of myzostomid worm associated with black corals to be described. Endoparasitic specimens of E. nigrocorallium were found associated with three species of antipatharians on the Great Reef of Toliara. Individuals inhabit the gastrovascular ducts of their hosts and evidence of infestation is, most of the time, not visible externally. Phylogenetic analyses based on 18S rDNA, 16S rDNA and COI data indicate a close relation to Eenymeenymyzostoma cirripedium, the only other species of the genus. The morphology of E. nigrocorallium is very unusual compared to that of the more conventional E. cirripedium. The new species has five pairs of extremely reduced parapodia located on the body margin and no introvert, cirri or lateral organs. Individuals are hermaphroditic, with the male and female gonads both being located dorsally in the trunk. It also has a highly developed parenchymo-muscular layer on the ventral side, and the digestive system lies in the middle part of the trunk. A three-dimensional digital model of this worm’s body plan has been constructed whereby the external morphology and in toto views of the observed organ systems (nervous, digestive and reproductive) can be viewed on-screen:



Annelida, Antipatharia, Black corals, Madagascar, Myzostomida, Symbiosis

Full Text:

PDF (11MB)


Bleidorn, C., Eeckhaut, I., Podsiadlowski, L., Schult, D., McHugh, K., Halanych, M., Milinkovitch, M., Tiedemann, R. (2007) Mitochondrial genome and nuclear sequence data support Myzostomida as part of the annelid radiation. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 24 (8), 1690–1701.

Bleidorn, C., Podsiadlowski, L., Zhong, M., Eeckhaut, I., Hartmann, S., Halanych, K.M. & Tiedemann, R. (2009a) On the phylogenetic position of Myzostomida: can 77 genes get it wrong? BMC Evolutionary Biology, 9 (1), 1–11.

Bleidorn, C., Lanterbecq, D., Eeckhaut, I. & Tiedemann, R. (2009b) A PCR survey of Hox genes in the myzostomid Myzostoma cirriferum. Development Genes and Evolution, 219 (4), 211–216.

Bleidorn, C., Helm, C., Weigert, A., Eeckhaut, I., Lanterbecq, D., Struck, R., Hartmann, S. & Tiedemann, R. (2014) From morphology to phylogenomics: placing the enigmatic Myzostomida in the tree of life. In: Wägele, J.W. & Bartholomaeus, T. (Eds.), Deep metazoan phylogeny: the backbone of the tree of life. De Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 161–172.

Bo, M., Rouse, G.W., Martin, D. & Bavestrello, G. (2013) A myzostomid endoparasitic in black corals. Coral Reefs, 33, 273–273.

Buhl-Mortensen, L.E.N.E. & Mortensen, P.B. (2004) Symbiosis in deep-water corals. Symbiosis, 37 (1), 33–61.

Capella-Gutiérrez, S., Silla-Martínez, J.M. & Gabaldón, T. (2009) trimAl: a tool for automated alignment trimming in large-scale phylogenetic analyses. Bioinformatics, 25 (15), 1972–1973.

Choe, M.-K. & Kim, I.-H. (2010) Paramolgus orientalis n. sp. (Copepoda: Cyclopoida: Rhynchomolgidae) Associated with an Antipatharian Coral from Korea. Animal Systematics, Evolution and Diversity, 26 (1), 49–54.

Eeckhaut, I., Jangoux, M. (1991) Fine structure of the spermatophore and intradermic penetration of sperm cells in Myzostoma cirriferum (Annelida, Myzostomida). Zoomorphology, 111 (1), 49–58.

Eeckhaut, I., McHugh, D., Mardulyn, P., Tiedemann, R., Monteyne, D., Jangoux, M. & Milinkovitch, M. (2000) Myzostomida: a link between trochozoans and flatworms? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 267, 1383–1392.

Eeckhaut, I. & Lanterbecq, D. (2005) Myzostomida: a review of their ultrastructure and phylogeny. In: Bartholomaeus, T. & Purschke, G. (Eds.), Morphology, Molecules and Evolution of the Polychaeta and Related Taxa. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 253–275.

Eeckhaut, I. & Lanterbecq, D. (2014) Myzostomida. In: Schmidt-Rhaesa, A.(Eds.), Handbook of Zoology Online. De Gruyter, Berlin. Available from: (accessed 28 February 2017)

Felsenstein, J. (1985) Phylogenies and the comparative method. The American Naturalist, 125, 1–15.

Folmer, O., Black, M., Hoeh, W., Lutz, R. & Vrijenhoek, R. (1994) DNA primers for amplification of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I from diverse metazoan invertebrates. Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, 3, 294–299.

Goenaga, C. (1977) Two new species of Stichopathes (Zoantharia; Antipatharia) with observations on aspects of their biology. Unpublished MS Thesis, University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, 101 pp.

Grygier, M.J. (1990) A crustacean endoparasite (Ascothoracida: Synagogidae) of an antipatharian from Guam. Micronesica, 23 (1), 15–25.

Grygier, M.J. (2000) Class Myzostomida. In: Beesley, P.L., Ross, G.J.B. & Glasby, C.J. (Eds.), Polychaetes and Allies: The Southern Synthesis, Fauna of Australia. Vol. 4A. Polychaeta, Myzostomida, Pogonophora, Echiura, Sipuncula. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 297–330.

Graff, L. (1877) Das Genus Myzostoma (F.S. Leuckart). Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, Leipzig, 82 pp.

Graff, L. (1885) Description of a new species Myzostoma. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Series 2, Zoology, 2, 444–446.

Grange, K.R. (1991) Mutualism between the antipatharian Antipathes fiordensis and the ophiuroid Astrobrachion constrictum in New Zealand fjords. Hydrobiologia, 216/217, 297–303.

Hartmann, S., Helm, C., Nickel, B., Meyer, M., Struck, T., Tiedemann, R., Selbig, J. & Bleidorn, C. (2012) Exploiting gene families for phylogenomic analysis of myzostomid transcriptome data. PLOS ONE, 7 (1), e29843.

Helaers, R. & Milinkovitch, M. (2010) MetaPIGA v2.0: maximum likelihood large phylogeny estimation using the metapopulation genetic algorithm and other stochastic heuristics. BMC Bioinformatics, 11, 379.

Helm, C., Weigert, A., Mayer, G. & Bleidorn, C. (2012) Myoanatomy of Myzostoma cirriferum (Annelida, Myzostomida): implications for the evolution of the myzostomid body plan. Journal of Morphology, 274, 456–466.

Hess, H. (2010) Myzostome deformation on arms of the Early Jurassic crinoid Balanocrinus gracilis (Charlesworth). Journal of Paleontology, 84 (6), 1031–1034.

Jägersten, G. (1940) Zur Kenntnis der Morphologie, Entwicklung und Taxonomie der Myzostomida. Nova acta Regiae societatis scientiarum Upsaliensis, Seriei 4, 11 (No. 8), 1–84.

Lanterbecq, D. & Eeckhaut, I. (2003) Myzostomida from Madagascar, with the description of two new species. Hydrobiologia, 496, 115–123.

Lanterbecq, D., Rouse, G.W., Milinkovitch, M. & Eeckhaut, I. (2006) Molecular phylogenetic analyses indicate multiple independent emergences of parasitism in Myzostomida (Protostomia). Systematic Biology, 55 (2), 208–227.

Lanterbecq, D., Hempson, T., Griffiths, C., Eeckhaut, I. (2009) Myzostoma fuscomaculatum (Myzostomida), a new species of myzostome from False Bay, South Africa. Hydrobiologia, 619 (1), 145–154.

Lanterbecq, D., Rouse, G.W. & Eeckhaut, I. (2010) Evidence for cospeciation events in the hostsymbiont system involving crinoids (Echinodermata) and their obligate associates, the myzostomids (Myzostomida, Annelida). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 54, 357–371.

Larkin, M.A., Blackshields, G., Brown, N.P., Chenna, R., McGettigan, P.A., McWilliam, H., Valentin, F., Wallace, I.M., Wilm, A., Lopez, R., Thompson, J.D., Gibson, T.J. & Higgins, D.G. (2007) Clustal W and Clustal X version 2.0. Bioinformatics, 23, 2947–2948.

McClendon, J.F. (1906) The myzostomes of the "Albatross" Expedition to Japan. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 23, 119–130.

Molodtsova, T. & Budaeva, N. (2007) Modifications of corallum morphology in black corals as an effect of associated fauna. Bulletin of Marine Science, 81 (3), 469–480.

Nylander, J.A.A. (2002) MrModeltest. Version 1.1b. Available from: (accessed 28 February 2017)

Okada, Y. (1920) Notes on a species of Myzostoma attached to a sponge. Zoological Magazine, 32, 324–325.

Palumb, S.R. (1997) Nucleic acids II: The polymerase chain reaction. In: Hillis, D.M., Moritz, C. & Mable, B.K. (Eds.), Molecular systematics. 2nd Edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts, pp. 205–247.

Rasband, W.S. (1997) ImageJ. U. S. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Ronquist, F. & Huelsenbeck, J.P. (2003) MRBAYES 3: Bayesian phylogenetic inference under mixed models. Bioinformatics, 19, 1572–1574.

Summers, M.M., Al-Hakim, I. & Rouse, G.W. (2014) Turbotaxonomy: 21 new species of Myzostomida (Annelida). Zootaxa, 3873 (4), 301–344.

Summers, M.M., Rouse, G.W. (2014) Phylogeny of Myzostomida (Annelida) and their relationships with echinoderm hosts. BMC Evolutionnary Biology, 14 (1), 170.

Summers, M.M., Rouse, G.W. (2015) Erratum: Phylogeny of Myzostomida (Annelida) and their relationships with echinoderm hosts. BMC Evolutionnary Biology, 15, 33.

Swofford, D. (1998) PAUP*: phylogenetic analysis using parsimony (*and other methods). Beta version 4.0.b1, Sinauer, Sunderland.

Van Syoc, R.J. & Dekelboum, A.M. (2011) Oxynaspididae (Crustacea, Cirripedia) : phylogenetic and evolutionary ecology, with descriptions of three new genera and six new species. Zootaxa, 3103, 1–32.

Yakovlev, N. (1939) Nouveaux genres de coraux Tabulata du Permien inférieur de l’Oural et du bassin du Donetz. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences de l’URSS, 24 (6), 629–632.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand