Meloidoderita whittoni (Sledge & Christie, 1962) comb. n. (Tylenchida: Sphaeronematidae) and its parasitic habits on sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.)

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Morphological and molecular analyses of three populations of Meloidoderita whittoni (Sledge & Christie, 1962) comb. n. (syn. Sphaeronema whittoni; Tumiota whittoni) collected in Florida from sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) indicated that this species is a representative of Meloidoderita rather than Sphaeronema, where it was included in the original description, or Tumiota, to where it was subsequently transferred. However, this species can be considered an atypical representative of the genus, because it differs from the other species of this genus in having females retaining the eggs inside a thin-walled uterus, which remains encased inside their body. After egg deposition inside the uterus, the female dies and its body is transformed into a persistent tanned sac with a thick cuticle, devoid of ornamentations, which protects the eggs like a heteroderid cyst. The female secretes from the vulva a gelatinous matrix, which becomes hardened in time and encases its body for protection against predation and parasitism by biological antagonists as has been suggested for other tylenchuloid nematodes. No egg deposition outside the female body was observed. Second-stage juveniles of this species have a semi-endoparasitic, rather than endoparasitic, habit as in other known Meloidoderita species. This is the first report of a sphaeronematid having a cyst stage fitting the definition of a heteroderid cyst. Phylogenetic relationships between some species of Tylenchuloidea and Criconematina are analysed using the partial 18S rRNA, the D2-D3 of 28S rRNA and the ITS rRNA gene sequences.

Meloidoderita whittoni (Sledge & Christie, 1962) comb. n. (Tylenchida: Sphaeronematidae) and its parasitic habits on sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.)

in Nematology

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References

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Figures

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    Camera lucida line drawings of Meloidoderita whittoni comb. n. A, B: Male and female entire body; C: Anterior end of second-stage juvenile (J2); D, E: Pharyngeal region of male and J2; F, G: J2 tail; H, K: Cysts containing embryonated eggs and encrusted with residues of gelatinous matrix; I: Mature female entire body; J: Female anterior region; L: Male posterior end.

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    Photomicrograph of Meloidoderita whittoni comb. n. cyst. (Scale bar: 100 μm.)

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    Photomicrographs of Meloidoderita whittoni comb. n. life stages detached or attached to feeder root segments of sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua). A: Brown cysts and white females; B: Young female encased in hardened gelatinous matrix; C: Female body embedded in root cortex; D: Vermiform second-stage juveniles (J2) entering the root with the anterior body portion (right) and a shortened and swollen immature female encased in juvenile cuticles protruding with posterior portion of body from root surface (left); E: Cysts filled with embryonated eggs; F: Anterior end of twisted neck of young female, with stylet slightly protruded; G: Female neck region at level of pharyngeal median bulb, showing excretory duct (arrow); H: Female perineal area, showing vulval slit (bottom) and anus (top) located in circular depressions of cuticle; I: Vulval slit; J: Entire cysts; K, L: Particulars of anterior (K) and posterior (L) body portions of top right cyst in Figure 3J. Note, in K, the neck and the uterine sac detached from the thick body wall and, in L, the packed embryonated eggs enclosed in it and adhering to the thick cyst wall; M: Posterior portion of a young female secreting gelatinous matrix (g) from vulva; N: J2 in temporary water agar mount; O, P: Anterior and posterior end of glycerin infiltrated J2; Q: Male fourth-stage juvenile encased in J2 and J3 cuticles and with visible stylet conus in anterior body region; R: Male tail, lacking bursa and with protruded spicules; S: Male anterior end without stylet and with degenerate pharynx. (Scale bars: A = 500 μm; B-E, J, N = 100 μm; F-I, M, S = 10 μm; K, L = 50 μm; O-R = 20 μm.)

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    Phylogenetic relationships within Sphaeronematidae and other Criconematina species: Bayesian 50% majority rule consensus tree as inferred from analysis of the partial 18S rRNA gene sequence alignment under the GTR + I + G model. Posterior probabilities equal or more than 70% are given for appropriate clades. Original sequences are indicated by bold font.

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    Phylogenetic relationships within Sphaeronematidae and other Criconematina species: Bayesian 50% majority rule consensus tree as inferred from analysis of the D2-D3 of 28S rRNA gene sequence alignment under the GTR + I + G model. Posterior probabilities equal or more than 70% are given for appropriate clades. Original sequences are indicated by bold font.

  • View in gallery

    Phylogenetic relationships within Sphaeronematidae and other Criconematina species: Bayesian 50% majority rule consensus tree as inferred from analysis of the ITS rRNA gene sequence alignment under the GTR + I + G model. Posterior probabilities equal or more than 70% are given for appropriate clades. Original sequences are indicated by bold font.

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