Putative speciation events in Lamellodiscus (Monogenea: Diplectanidae) assessed by a morphometric approach
In the present study, we used morphometry as a proxy to study the microevolution of generalist Lamellodiscus (Monogenea, Diplectanidae) species, comprising gill parasites of sparid fish. We investigated 147 individuals, belonging to nine described species, regrouped in four morphotypes. Morphometric measurements were taken on sclerotized parts of the attachment organ. The formation of groups on the basis of the global morphometry within a host species, or between several host species, was assessed using both exploratory analyses (principal component analysis and clustering analysis) and statistical tests. We showed that: (1) for three out of four morphotypes, the global morphometry was significantly different according to host species used, and (2) the coexistence of two populations of Lamellodiscus elegans on Diplodus sargus could reflect an ongoing intra-host speciation event. We suggest that generalist Lamellodiscus are undergoing specialization on their different hosts, which may lead to speciation. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 99, 559–569.