Diploscapter formicidae sp. n. (Rhabditida: Diploscapteridae), from the ant Prolasius advenus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in New Zealand

In: Nematology
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  • 1 1Landcare Research, Private Bag 92170, Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
  • | 2 2Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, PMB 1, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia
  • | 3 3Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology, Victoria University of Wellington, P.O. Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
  • | 4 4Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida-IFAS, 3205 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7719, USA
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Diploscapter formicidae sp. n. was collected from the ant Prolasius advenus and its nests in native beech forests of the South Island, New Zealand. This is a new host record for the nematode genus and the first report of an ant associate from the southern hemisphere. Diploscapter formicidae sp. n. appears to be native to New Zealand. No males were found from collections from 16 nests, in agreement with previously published data on the other members of this genus, suggesting that males are absent or very rare. The adult females have bilateral symmetry of the head, characteristic dorsal and ventral projections of the putative cheilostom with paired hook-like structures or hamuli, expansive membranous lateral lip flaps or laciniae, gymnostom and stegostom with parallel walls, a swollen procorpus, large terminal bulb with a strong valve, paired ovaries with medial vulva, and a short conoid tail with slender pointed or spicate tip. Scanning electron micrographs of the structure of the head confirmed that the lateral laciniae with finger-like tines or filopodia are moveable (alternately covering and exposing the mouth). These lateral lip flaps are located posterior to the stoma, but anterior to the pore-like amphidial openings. The anterior margin of the cheilostom possesses apomorphic lateral bell-shaped projections and the hamuli are broader and less pointed than other species that have been examined. Molecular phylogeny of near full-length small subunit, D2/D3 expansion segments of the large subunit rRNA gene and heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) gene showed that D. formicidae sp. n. is monophyletic with the Diploscapter species and isolates available in GenBank, but is on an independent trajectory supporting separate species status.

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