Heliconema monopteri n. sp. (Nematoda: Physalopteridae) from Monopterus cuchia (Hamilton) (Osteichthyes: Synbranchidae) in India, with notes on the taxonomy of Heliconema spp.

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A new nematode species, Heliconema monopteri n. sp. (Physalopteridae), is described from the stomach and intestine of the freshwater fish Monopterus cuchia (Hamilton) (Synbranchidae) in Bijnor district, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is mainly characterized by the lengths of spicules (468 – 510 µm and 186 – 225 µm), the postequatorial vulva without elevated lips, the presence of pseudolabial lateroterminal depressions and by the number and arrangement of caudal papillae. This is the first representative of the genus reported from a synbranchiform fish. Another new congeneric species, Heliconema pisodonophidis n. sp. is established based on a re-examination of nematodes previously reported as H. longissimum (Ortlepp, 1922) from Pisodonophis boro (Hamilton) (Ophichthidae) in Thailand; ovoviviparity in this species is a unique feature among all physalopterids. Heliconema hamiltonii Bilqees et Khanum, 1970 is designated as a species dubia and the nematodes previously reported as H. longissimum from Mastacembelus armatus (Lacépède) in India are considered to belong to H. kherai Gupta et Duggal, 1989. A key to species of Heliconema Travassos, 1919 is provided.

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