Biodiversity in freshwaters has been widely studied and it is evident that parasites form a fundamental part of this diversity. Fishes of the order Siluriformes, known as catfishes, have a worldwide distribution with more 2,800 species. Approximately 1,700 species, i.e. more than 60%, are found in America, mainly in the Neotropical region. More than 350 species of 31 genera of gill monogeneans of the family Dactylogyridae have been reported from catfishes and about 75 species in 14 genera are known from the Neotropical region. During parasitological examination of eight species of catfishes from the Aguapeí River, "RPPN Foz do Rio Aguapeí", São Paulo State, a number of dactylogyrid monogeneans were found on the gills of these hosts. A preliminary taxonomic evaluation of these monogeneans has shown that they may belong to several new species. Thus, the aim of the current project is to characterize the helminth fauna of eight dominant siluriform fishes from the Aguapeí River using methods of phylogenetic systematics and molecular taxonomy, including description of putative new species of dactylogyrid monogeneans.
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