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Recognition of Low-Temperature Infective Isolates of the Entomopathogenic Nematode Heterorhabditis Spp. (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae)

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A laboratory test for primary screening of large numbers of Heterorhabditis isolates for low-temperature infectivity is described. The cold active isolate HF85 was used for reference. Preliminary studies showed that, at 9°C, Galleria mellonella in sand columns or Tenebrio molitor on filter paper identified much the same group of isolates as cold-infective. Seven of the ten isolates identified as cold-infective on the basis of the number of nematodes established in Galleria were also identified on the basis of percentage Galleria killed. Performance of Heterorhabditis isolates in the Galleria bioassay was compared at 9, 15 and 20°C. There was a significant positive correlation between infectivity at 9°C and infectivity at 15°C but not between 9°C and 20°C. Of 151 Heterorhabditis isolates screened at 9°C, 29 were sufficiently infective to justify selection for further testing. The infectivity of juveniles of various isolates in bioassay at 9°C was compared with their motility (rate of movement and proportion of nematodes active) at that temperature. There was a significant positive association between the rate of movement of nematode isolates and their infectivity in both the Tenebrio and the Galleria bioassay, but only when the standard HF85 was excluded from the analysis. Rate of movement was not considered to be sufficiently reliable for use as a predictor of infectivity at 9°C. There was poor correlation between the proportion of nematodes active and infectivity.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland


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