Systematics and Taxonomy
The taxonomic treatment of the higher level groups including the genus Pristina has undergone some confusing changes. Until around 2002 the genus Pristina was placed in its own subfamily, the Pristininae, within the family Naididae. This original conception of the Naididae included only small, freshwater (or brackish water) oligochaetes, all of which could reproduce by fission. Subsequently, Erseus and Gustavsson (2002) and Erseus et al. (2002) proposed that the taxonomic rank of the Naididae should be lowered to a subfamily within the large family Tubificidae, based on its phylogenetic position according to analyses of both molecular and morphological data sets. However, because the family name Tubificidae was published later than the family name Naididae, the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature would normally require that the family name Naididae, the earlier name, take precedence. An appeal to retain the name Tubificidae for the clade comprised of the former Tubificidae plus the former Naididae (as well as several other taxa)--based on the confusion that would be generated by the name change ostensibly required by the Zoological Code--was rejected by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) (Erseus et al 2008). Further complicating this story, the former Naididae now appears not to be a monophyletic group because the monophyletic subfamily Pristininae is not recovered in phylogenetic analyses as the sister group to the remainder of the former Naididae (which form another monophyletic group) (Envall et al. 2006; Bely and Sikes 2010). Currently, therefore, the genus Pristina is treated as the sole genus within the subfamily Pristininae within the family Naididae (sensu Erseus et al. 2008).
Several molecular phylogenetic analyses have inferred the position of Pristina relative to other aquatic oligochaetes (Bely and Wray 2004; Erseus and Kallersjo 2004; Sjolin et al. 2005; Envall et al. 2006; Erseus et al. 2010).
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