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Genus Armillifer Sambon, 1922



Dollfus (1950) argued that Armillifer Sambon, 1922 is a junior synonym of Nettorhynchus [sic] Zenker, 1827. He believed that Nettorhynchus blainvillei is a species of Armillifer, apparently A. armillatus (Wyman, 1845). The history is complicated, replete with errors, and of interest because of the potential to upset to nomenclature.

The term ‘nettorhynque’ was introduced by Blainville (1824) in a footnote on p. 517: ‘J’establis ce genre avec un ver intestinal observé par Paisley, et dont it sera parlé plus loin.’ On page 522 and Appendix Plate I, figures 1 and 2, he described the worm based on an account by J. Paisley, a surgeon in Glasgow, and reproduced his illustrations. Paisley’s (1734) description was based on two worms, the first whole but dead and the second in pieces. According to his detailed story ‘… a young Man was wounded in a Duel with a small Sword, which entered about four Inches below the right Nipple, and a little towards the back …’ After some weeks he become feverish and jaundiced and eventually passed with his faeces and a large amount of blood ‘a large Worm, a Foot and a half long and an Inch and a half in Diameter …’

The parasite was given a Latinised binomen, Netrorhynchus blainvillei, by Zenker (1827, p. 23), so erecting a monotypic genus. The name was incorrectly spelled as Nettorhynchus by Gervais (1847, p. 630) without included species and this spelling has been wrongly adopted. It has been suggested that Netrorhynchus/Nettorhynchus blainvillei is in fact a nematode but neither name appears on modern lists of Nematoda (see summary by Dollfus 1950).

The genus Armillifer was erected by Sambon (1922, p. 200), type species by original designation Linguatula armillata Wyman, 1845 [as Armillifer armillatus (Wyman, 1847)]. In several recent papers Linguatula armillata is attributed to Wyman, 1847 (rightly Wyman, 1848) whereas it was first published in 1845 (Nicoli et al., 1965: footnote). The species was based on specimens from the intestine of the snake, Python bivittata, collected in West Africa, near Cape Palmas (now Liberia). Dollfus (1950) argued that Armillifer Sambon, 1922 is a junior synonym of Nettorhynchus. He believed that Nettorhynchus blainvillei is a species of Armillifer, apparently A. armillatus. Nicoli et al. (1965) doubted the synonymy of Armillifer and Nettorhynchus. They believed Blainville’s account to be a little exaggerated and nothing in the original suggests a parasite of African snakes.

Ligamifer Heymons, 1932 [p. 416] with type species, WaddycephaIus mazzai Sambon, 1922 (as Ligamifer mazzai Sambon, 1922) by monotypy, is a subjective synonym of both genera.

The subjective senior synonym Netrorhynchus has been never used but its misspelling has appeared in later literature. Doucet (1962, 1965) stated that there are three species of Nettorhynchus, but listed only N. armillatus. Grétillat & Thiéry (1960, p. 306) who followed Dollfus’ (1950) synonymy, stated there were six species, and described the nymph of what they called ‘Nettorhynchus (Armillifer) armillatus(Wyman, 1835)’ from cysts in the body cavity of a cat from Dakar. Challier et al. (1967) used the combination Armillifer (Nettorhynchus) armillatus to record cases of porocephalosis from a cow in Mali and a pig from Upper Volta. Nettorhynchus would appear to have not been used since 1967.

Armillifer is now in common use and is preferred here. It was used in Heymons’ (1935) classic review of Pentastomida; he did not mention Nettorhynchus. It is the genus used in reviews of the biology and taxonomy of Pentastomida (Self 1969; Riley & Self 1981; Riley 1986). Self’s (1969) bibliography listed at least 20 papers dealing with the genus Armillifer. A search of the Web of Science revealed 16 papers from the 1970s to date dealing with human health and veterinary issues associated with pentostomaisis linked to species of Armillifer. Significant taxonomic (Riley & Self, 1981) and phylogenetic (Lavrov et al. 2004) reviews refer only to Armillifer. Web-based lists of species also use only Armillifer. Besides the type species, the consenus is that four species are now included in Armillifer: Pentastoma moniliforme Diesing, 1835; Porocephalis grandis Hett, 1915; WaddycephaIus mazzai Sambon, 1922; and Armillifer agkistrodontis Self & Kuntz, 1966.




Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia

Extra Distribution Information

Also Africa, Taiwan, SE Asia, India

General References

Blainville, H.M.D. de 1824. Appendice. pp. 501-553 in Bremser, J.G., de Blainville, H.M.D. & Grundler, A. Traité zoologique et physiologique sur les vers intestinaux de l'homme / par M. Bremser. Traduit de l'allemand par M. Grundler. Rev. et augm. de notes par M. de Blainville. Avec un atlas composé de douze planches in-quarto. Paris : C.L.F. Panckoucke.

Challier, A., Gidel, R. & Traore, S. 1967. Porocéphalose à Armillifer (Nettorhynchus) armillatus, Wyman 1847, (Pentastomida) chez un bovin et un porcin (Mali et Haute-Volta). Revue d'Élevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux 20: 255-259

Diesing, K.M. 1835. Versuch einer Monographie der Gattung Pentastoma. Annalen des Wiener Museums der Naturgeschichte 1: 1-32

Dollfus, R.P, 1950. Armillifer L. W. Sambon 1922 tombe en synonymie de Nettorhynque H.-D. de Blainville 1824. Annales de Parasitologie Humaine et Comparée 25: 112-113

Doucet, J.-P. 1962. Pentastomes de l'Angola. Publicaçoes Culturais da Companhia de Diamantes de Angola 54: 115-120 [not seen]

Doucet, J.-P. 1965. Contribution à l'étude anatomique, histologique et histochimique des pentastomes (Pentastomida). Mémoires. Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer. Paris 14: 1-150

Gervais, P. 1847. Nettorhynchus. P. 630 in D'Orbigny, C.V.D. (ed.). Dictionnaire universel d'histoire naturelle résumant et complétant tous les faits présentés par les encyclopédies les anciens dictionnaires scientifiques les oeuvres complètes de Buffon, et les traités spéciaux sur les diverses branches des sciences naturelles donnant la description des ,tres et des divers phénomènes de la nature l'étymologie et la définition des noms scientifiques, les principales applications des corps organiques et inorganiques à l'agriculture, à la médecine, aux arts industriels, etc.; dirigé par M. Charles d'Orbigny, et enrichi d'un magnifique atlas de 288 planches gravées sur acier. Paris : C. Renard Tome huitième.

Grétillat, S. & Thiéry, G. 1960. Porocéphalose à Nettorhynchus (Armillifer) armillatus (Wyman, 1845) chez un chat. Revue d'Élevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux 13: 305-308

Hett, M.L. 1915. On some new pentastomids from the Zoological Society's Gardens, London. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1915: 115-121

Heymons, R. 1932. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Pentastomiden Australiens und benachbarter Gebiete. Zeitschrift für Parasitenkunde 4: 409-430

Heymons, R. 1935. Pentastomida. In, Bronns, H.G. (ed.). Klassen und Ordnungen des Tierreichs. Fünfter Band. IV Abteilung, 1. Buch. Leipzig : Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H. pp. 1–268.

Lavrov, D.V., Brown, W.M. & Boore, J.L. 2004. Phylogenetic position of the Pentastomida and (pan)crustacean relationships. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (B) 271: 537-544

Nicoli, R.M., Latourelle, P. & Quilici, M. 1965. Problèmes de nomenclature: Armillifer L. W. Sambon, 1922 ou Nettorhynchus (H. D. de Blainville, 1824) J. C. Zenker, 1827 emend.? Annales de Parasitologie Humaine et Comparée 40: 238-240

Paisley, J. 1734. An account of an extraordinary worm. Medical Essays and Observations revised and published by a Society in Edinburgh 2: 333-339, pl. 334

Riley, J. 1986. The biology of pentastomids. Advances in Parasitology 25: 45-128

Riley, J. & Self, J.T. 1981. Some observations on the taxonomy and systematics of the pentastomid genus Armillifer (Sambon, 1922) in South East Asian and Australian snakes. Systematic Parasitology 2: 171-179

Sambon, L.W. 1922. A synopsis of the family Linguatulidae [part I]. Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 25: 188-206

Self, J. & Kuntz, R.E. 1966. New Pentastomida. Sambonia parapodum n. sp. from Varanus salvator, and Armillifer agkistrodontis n. sp. from Agkistrodon acutus. Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 85: 256-260

Self, J.T. 1969. Biological relationships of the Pentastomida; a bibliography on the Pentastomida. Experimental Parasitology 24: 63-119

Wyman, J. 1845. Notice of two species of Linguatula. Boston Journal of Natural History 5: 294-296, pl. 215

Wyman, J. 1848. Two species of Linguatula. Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History 2: 59

Zenker, J.C. 1827. Parasitae corporis humani internae seu vermes intestinales hominis. Lipsae : Hofmeister viii+112 pp. [23]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
21-Mar-2012 21-Mar-2012 MODIFIED
28-Feb-2012 29-Feb-2012 MODIFIED
20-Oct-2011 20-Oct-2011 MODIFIED
12-Apr-2011 12-Apr-2011 MOVED
12-Apr-2011 12-Apr-2011 MOVED
31-Mar-2011 ADDED