Nematomorpha, commonly known as horsehair worms, parasitize terrestrial and aquatic arthropods. Approximately 360 species in the taxon Gordiida are parasites of terrestrial insects (Hanelt et al., 2005; Schmidt-Rhaesa, 2013).
These worms mature in their host, manipulate its behavior and urge them towards water, where they emerge (Thomas et al., 2000). After mating and laying eggs, the hatched larvae find aquatic invertebrates that serve as paratenic hosts. It is claimed that the terrestrial final hosts become infected by consuming the paratenic hosts. However, the direct pathways of infection are still unclear (Hanelt et al., 2005).
Knowledge on biodiversity and distribution of Nematomorpha is still fragmentary. Many records were made more or less accidentally, which results in very scattered sampling and the fact that often only single specimens are available. Identifi cations are based on different methods and over the years scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has replaced the light microscopical investigation of cuticular fragments. Molecular barcoding becomes more and more important (e.g. Chiu et al., 2011, Hanelt et al., 2015), but the database still includes few species. Therefore, new records, especially from new or scarcely sampled locations, should document specimens as good as possible.
About 100 species belong to the genus
We report here a new record from Iran. The nematomorph fauna of Iran is almost unknown, previously only one species,
During ecoparasitological studies in Shiyadeh, Mazandaran province, Iran, a female Giant Asian Mantis (
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Global distribution patterns of nematomorphs are very patchy, because from several countries and regions, very few records are known. Initial random records can lead to a growing awareness in undersampled regions and lead to further records. For example, between 1853 and 2004, 13 nematomorph species were recorded from entire India (Schmidt-Rhaesa & Yadav, 2004). Until 2020, sampling activities just in the Eastern part of India raised the number to 22 species (Yadav et al., 2020).
Little information is available about the phylum Nematomorpha in Iran. Previously there was only one single report of two females of
Simple, bristle and tubercle areoles, clusters composed of crowned and circumcluster areoles and the presence of very long filaments in crowned areoles on the ventral (sometimes also on the dorsal side in females) are common hallmarks of this genus (Schmidt-Rhaesa et al., 2008), but their fine structure and distribution patterns on the body cuticle are important characters for identification. The observed cuticular structures correspond well with the species
De Villalobos et al. (2007) synonymized some other species with
This is the first report of a host of a nematomorph species from Iran. Mantids are a common host for the genus