We re-isolated in China a relative of the nematode model Caenorhabditis elegans that was previously referred to informally as C. sp. 5. In spite of its importance for comparative biology, C. sp. 5 has remained morphologically uncharacterized. Therefore, we now provide detailed description of morphology and anatomy, assigning the name of Caenorhabditis sinica sp. n. to this nematode that is found frequently in China. C. sinica sp. n. belongs to the Elegans group in the genus Caenorhabditis, being phylogenetically close to C. briggsae although differing in reproductive mode. The gonochoristic C. sinica sp. n. displays two significantly larger distal parts of uteri filled with sperms in the female/hermaphroditic gonad than does the androdioecious C. briggsae. The new species can be differentiated morphologically from all known Caenorhabditis species within the Elegans group by presenting a uniquely shaped, three-pointed hook structure on the male precloacal lip. The lateral field of C. sinica sp. n. is marked by three ridges that are flanked by two additional incisures, sometimes appearing as five ridges in total. This study ends the prolonged period of the 'undescribed' anonymity for C. sinica sp. n. since its discovery and use in comparative biological research. Significant and crossing-direction dependent hybrid incompatibilities in F1 and F2 crossing progeny make C. sinica sp. n. an excellent model for studies of population and speciation genetics. The abundance of nematode species lacking detailed taxonomic characterization deserves renewed attention to address the species description gap for this important yet morphologically 'difficult' group of animals.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)