Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita (Nematoda: Rhabditidae), a potential biocontrol agent isolated for the first time from invasive slugs in North America

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  • 1 Department of Nematology, University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
  • 2 Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA, USA

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Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita is reported for the first time in North America from cadavers of the invasive slug species Deroceras reticulatum, D. laeve and Lehmannia valentiana collected from three different locations in California, USA. Four isolates were identified using combined morphology, morphometrics and molecular sequence data for complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS-1, 5.8S, ITS-2), D2-D3 expansion segments of the large subunit (LSU or 28S) and nearly complete small subunit (SSU or 18S) ribosomal DNA. Extremely low sequence variations in the COI gene of the mitochondria were observed among US isolates as well as between US isolates and the two UK sequences. The occurrence of P. hermaphrodita in North America has regulatory implications for potential biological control strategies against non-native gastropod species that are pests in ornamental and agricultural cultivation on this continent. The D2-D3 sequence of the LSU rDNA is new for the species.

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