First record of Phasmarhabditis papillosa (Nematoda: Rhabditidae) in South Africa, and its virulence against the invasive slug, Deroceras panormitanum

in Nematology
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Worldwide interest in Phasmarhabditis originates from the successful commercialisation of P. hermaphrodita as a biological control agent against molluscs in Europe. To date, P. hermaphrodita has not been isolated from South Africa and, therefore, the formulated product may not be sold locally. During a survey for mollusc-associated nematodes, P. papillosa was dissected from the slug, Deroceras reticulatum, collected from George, South Africa. The nematode was identified using a combination of morphological, morphometric, molecular and phylogenetic techniques. Virulence tests were conducted which demonstrated that P. papillosa caused significant mortality to the European invasive slug Deroceras panormitanum. Additional data are provided in the morphometrics of the infective juvenile and in the molecular identification, using the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (cox1) gene. This is the first report of P. papillosa from the African continent and of its virulence against D. panormitanum.

First record of Phasmarhabditis papillosa (Nematoda: Rhabditidae) in South Africa, and its virulence against the invasive slug, Deroceras panormitanum

in Nematology



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    Phasmarhabditis papillosa (SA) female. A: En face view; B: Anterior end; C: Vulval region; D: Tail region, ventral view. (Scale bars: A = 200 μm; B = 50 μm; C = 5 μm; D = 10 μm.)

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    Phasmarhabditis papillosa (SA) male. A: Anterior end; B: En face view; C: Lateral field of male; D: Male caudal region with open bursa and nine pairs of genital papillae (1-9); E: Spicules; F: Cloacal opening, ventral view. Abbreviations: pcs = post-cloacal sensilla, 1-3 = precloacal papillae, 4 = adcloacal papilla, 5-7 = postcloacal papillae, 8-9 = terminal papillae. (Scale bars: A, F = 20 μm; B = 10 μm; C = 5 μm; D = 2 μm; E = 50 μm.)

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    Micrographs of infective juvenile of Phasmarhabditis papillosa (SA). A: Exsheathed anterior end; B: Lateral lines in mid-body region of ensheathed juvenile. (Scale bars: A = 200 μm; B = 50 μm.)

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    Maximum likelihood (ML) phylogenetic tree of 18s rRNA gene sequences, using representatives from the genera Agfa, Angiostoma, Phasmarhabditis, and Pellioditis, together with Oscheius tipulae and O. insectivora as out-groups. The phylogenetic analysis of 1058 unambiguously aligned nucleotide positions, using the GTR correction model, with eight gamma rates and invariable sites. Bootstrap support was calculated on the basis of 1000 replicates, using ML, distance, and MP methods, respectively. Only bootstrap values above 65% are included.

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    Number of dead slugs (n = 30) over 14 days in Petri dish experiments without nematodes (▲), or with 2000 infective juveniles of Phasmarhabditis papillosa (SA) (■), at 20°C.

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