Unilateral to bilateral distribution pattern of the pine wood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus within bodies of the insect vector Monochamus alternatus depends on nematode load

In: Nematology
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  • 1 Laboratory of Forest Zoology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan
  • 2 Department of Natural Environmental Sciences, Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-8521, Japan

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Monochamus alternatus adults carry the pine wood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The nematodes are present in the tracheal system of vector beetles. It is known that carrying more than 10 000 nematodes causes drastic reduction in the lifespan and flight activity of beetles. To understand the effects of heavy nematode loads, 41 newly emerged M. alternatus adults were examined for lateral distribution of nematodes within the insect body. The nematodes were distributed unevenly between right and left sides of the beetle body at small nematode loads, whereas they were distributed evenly between them at heavy nematode loads. An analysis using Hagen-Poiseuille flow in a thin tube suggested that the rate of air flow decreased exponentially as the number of nematodes increased in a trachea. Thus, even distribution of nematodes between right and left sides of the vector body was considered to be responsible in part for the effects of heavy nematode loads on beetle activity.

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