Discovering Two New Amoebae Species with Shining Crystals and Microtubule Organizing Center (MTOC)

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Abstract Summary

Cochliopodium species are difficult to identify based on morphological characters due to cryptic diversity. Recent molecular analyses (DNA sequence data) of barcoding markers such as COI have begun to reveal the true diversity of this genus. We present morphological (light microscope) and molecular data (COI) for two new Cochliopodium species, commonly named "Crystal", from Arabia Lake, Lithonia, GA, and "Marr’s Spring" from the campus of The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, respectively. A maximum likelihood phylogenetic analysis showed that these two species were distinct from any other known Cochliopodium species. “Crystal” has unique square-shaped and sometimes spherical-shaped crystals. This species has an average length of 31.9 um and breadth of 29.7 um. Whereas the Cochliopodium Marrs Spring typically have rice grain to diamond-shaped crystals and has an average length of 52.1 The "Marrs Spring" species was 100% identical to an undescribed species labeled as “Cochliopodium_sp_KJ569724”. Crystal was most closely related to Cochliopodium larifeili. However, it was only 91% identical to this species, and thus, represents a distinct, new species. Our morphological and molecular data of Cochliopodium species will result in the description of two species that are new to science.

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