The results of morphological and molecular analyses of a Florida topotype and other populations of Hemicriconemoides strictathecatus showed that this sheathoid nematode consists of two morphotypes, both with an average stylet length of more than 70 μm, but having different tail termini, bluntly pointed or rounded. These findings confirmed the morphological similarity of H. strictathecatus with H. mangiferae, which was considered a junior synonym of this species as previously proposed by Decraemer & Geraert (1992, 1996). Populations of a sheathoid nematode with a stylet length ranging from 62.5 to 72.0 μm from Taiwan, China, South Africa and Venezuela and identified in previous studies as H. strictathecatus were found to be morphologically and molecularly different from this species and are now considered as representatives of H. litchi. Another sheathoid nematode population from Florida, considered to be H. mangiferae by McSorley et al. (1980), was also found to be morphologically and molecularly congruous with H. litchi. During nematological surveys in Florida, a new sheathoid nematode was detected on date palms imported from California into Florida and is described herein as H. phoenicis sp. n. This new species is related morphologically to the H. strictathecatus morphotype with pointed tail terminus. Both have a stylet longer than 70 μm. The new species is phylogenetically related to H. strictathecatus and H. litchi. It differs morphologically from other Hemicriconemoides species by the cuticular ornamentation of the annuli, which are marked by coarse longitudinal ridges, grooves and thick margins. Morphological and molecular characterisations of H. cocophillus from Mozambique and Florida, USA are also elucidated in this study. New phylogenies of the genus Hemicriconemoides as inferred from the analyses of the ITS rRNA, D2-D3 of 28S rRNA and partial coxI gene sequences are provided.
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