The family Salifidae is a predaceous leech taxon in the suborder Erpobdelliformes. Although Salifidae is widely distributed in the African, Oriental, Indo-Malayan, Sino-Japanese and Australasian regions, the phylogenetic relationships of the family Salifidae have never been tested using molecular data obtained from leeches collected from the family distributional range. A salifid species was collected for the first time in Vietnam, and relevant morphological and molecular data are presented here. Because the Vietnamese salifid species possesses unique morphological characteristics among the known salifid species, this species is herein described as a new species, Salifa motokawai, sp. nov. Phylogenetic analyses based on nuclear 18S rRNA and histone H3, as well as mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, tRNACys, tRNAMet, 12S rRNA, tRNAVal, 16S rRNA, tRNALeu and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 markers demonstrate that the Vietnamese salifid species is a close congener with the African Salifa perspicax and the Malagasy Linta be. Furthermore, molecular data revealed non-monophyly of the Asian salifid leeches. According to the observed phylogenetic relationships and morphological characteristics of the Vietnamese Salifa motokawai, sp. nov., the current classification of salifid taxa should be revised.
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Vol. 29 • No. 5