Aphelids remain poorly known parasitoids of algae and have recently raised considerable interest due to their phylogenetic position at the base of Holomycota. Together with Cryptomycota (Rozellosporidia) and Microsporidia, they have been recently re-classified as the Opisthosporidia, which constitutes the sister group to the fungi within the Holomycota. Molecular environmental studies have revealed a huge diversity of aphelids, but only four genera have been described: Aphelidium, Amoeboaphelidium, Paraphelidium, and Pseudaphelidium. Here, we describe the life cycle of a new representative of Aphelida, Paraphelidium letcheri sp. nov., and provide the 18S rRNA gene sequence for this species. Molecular phylogenetic analysis indicates that P. letcheri is sister to Paraphelidium tribonemae and together they form a monophyletic cluster which is distantly related to both, Aphelidium, with flagellated zoospores, and Amoebaphelidium, with amoeboid zoospores.
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