The rice root-knot nematode Meloidogyne graminicola normally infects rice, wheat and several other graminaceous plants. Meloidogyne incognita is a serious pest of dicotyledonous crops, although it can infect and reproduce on some cereals. This paper demonstrates and compares host recognition, development and reproduction of these two species of root-knot nematodes on rice and tomato plants. Attraction bioassays in pluronic gel clearly showed that M. incognita preferred tomato roots to rice or mustard roots, whilst M. graminicola was more attracted towards rice compared with tomato or mustard roots. Based on the attraction data from this study, it can be hypothesised that either: i) the blend of attractants and repellents are different in good and poor hosts; or ii) relatively long-range attractants, together with shorter-range repellents, might affect nematode movement patterns. Some host specific attractants might also be involved. Meloidogyne incognita was able to invade and develop to adult female but did not produce eggs in rice roots. By contrast, M. graminicola developed and reproduced faster on both rice and tomato plants compared with M. incognita. Nevertheless, second-stage juveniles of both these root-knot nematodes showed a similar pattern of distribution inside the roots, preferring to accumulate at the root tips of rice or in the vascular cylinder and cortical region of tomato.