Rhizaria comprises several very large and diverse groups of amoebae, flagellates and amoeboflagellates (Cavalier-Smith and Chao, 2003). Many of these will not be familiar to many readers, but they are ubiquitous in nature and important predators in many environments. Major lineages include Cercozoa, Foraminifera, and Radiolaria. Rhizaria is the most recently recognized supergroup, having been identified exclusively from molecular phylogenetic reconstruction (Cavalier-Smith, 2002; Cavalier-Smith, 2003; Nikolaev et al., 2004). Prior to this, there was little reason to anticipate this grouping, because there is no major structural character that unites them. (Although the amoeboid members of the group tend to produce fine pseudopodia, rather than the broad pseudopodia seen in many Amoebozoa – .) However, analyses of molecular phylogenies based on nearly all genes examined, as well as rare molecular markers such as insertions and deletions, initially identified the Cercozoa as a group that has then expanded to include the Foraminifera and eventually the Radiolaria (Archibald et al., 2002; Bass et al., 2005; Burki et al., 2007; Burki et al., 2008; Keeling, 2001; Longet et al., 2003; Moreira et al., 2007; Nikolaev et al., 2004; Polet et al., 2004). Analyses of multiple protein coding genes have further supported the monophyly of Rhizaria, and suggested a relationship to chromalveolates ().


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