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Project description

Biology and Life Cycle of the Sting Nematode. (97DS028)
Program UC IPM competitive research grants program
J.O. Becker, Nematology, UC Riverside
X. Huang
Host/habitat Unspecified
Pest Sting Nematode Belonolaimus longicaudatus
Discipline Nematology
Decision Support
Start year (duration)  1997 (Two Years)
Objectives Describe life cycle of the sting nematode as observed in culture of excised corn roots.

Determine influence of various physical and chemical environmental factors on behavior and population development of the sting nematode.


Belonolaimus longicaudatus is one of the most damaging plant parasitic nematodes in North America. Native to the southeastern U.S., it was found in the early 1990s in several golf courses in the Coachella Valley, California. Our research confirmed that this nematode poses an enormous threat to the plant industries in southern California, particularly in the inland deserts. Out of 60 different plant species and cultivars tested, only watermelon, tobacco, and okra did not serve as a host for the California population of B. longicaudatus. Many of the investigated grasses, vegetables, and row crops were classified as excellent hosts. More than 50 years after the identification of the sting nematode in Florida, this research project has described for the first time in detail the life cycle, feeding, and mating behavior of the sting nematode. We have thereby established critical basic information for a rational IPM program to manage this population and limit its spread. In order to observe the nematode during its entire life cycle and to monitor its behavior with minimal disturbance, the population was raised in vitro on corn roots growing on a tissue culture medium. At its optimal growth temperature of 28ºC, the nematode went from egg deposition through four juvenile stages and the adult stage to egg deposition in 24 days. Monthly sampling of two infested golf courses indicated that the sting nematode population development is closely correlated to soil temperature and availability of feeding sites.

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