Iranocichla hormuzensis occupies a biogeographically peculiar position. This endemic of southern Iran is the only Iranian cichlid. While it is phylogenetically related to African oreochromine members of the cichlid family, it remains unclear how it has dispersed into its current range. It is one of the many lasting enigmas of cichlid biogeography. Monogenean fish parasites may provide useful additional information in such cases. Therefore, I. hormuzensis was examined for these flatworms. A gyrodactylid parasite is reported and compared to congeners from the Palearctic and from cichlids. In this way, we verify whether it shows affinities to parasites from fishes that are either biogeographically or phylogenetically close to Iranocichla hormuzensis. The species is new to science and described as Gyrodactylus jalalii sp. nov. This is the first description of a parasite infecting I. hormuzensis. Because of the fixation method or age of the material, DNA could not be isolated. Due to the lack of genetic data, no conclusions can be drawn on its phylogenetic positioning. Indeed, Gyrodactylus phylogeny cannot be inferred from morphological characteristics alone. Moreover, the congeners phenotypically reminiscent of the new species belong to a Gyrodactylus clade which is highly diverse in geographic range and host choice. Hence, there is no evidence linking the new species to an exclusively African or cichlid-bound Gyrodactylus lineage.
Gyrodactylus jalalii sp. nov., Oreochromin, Platyhelminthes, Perciformes, species description.