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Interaction of intrinsic and extrinsic chemical cues in the behaviour of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Aphelenchida: Aphelenchoididae) in relation to its beetle vectors

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image of Nematology
For more content, see Nematologica.

Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, its host trees and beetle vectors represent an unusual ecological system. The fourth stage, dispersal juvenile (JIV) of B. xylophilus is a specialised life stage that must alter its response to a variety of chemical cues over time to properly enter and exit its beetle vector. Neutral storage (NS) lipid content is proposed as a modifier of nematode response to beetleand tree-produced volatiles. The chemotactic response of JIV to a variety of chemicals was tested and the lipid contents of JIV attracted to particular chemicals were quantified. Nematodes with the lowest NS lipid content were attracted to β-myrcene, a pine volatile, while nematodes with the highest NS lipid content were attracted to toluene, a beetle cuticular hydrocarbon. A rolling fulcrum model of the integration of intrinsic (NS lipid) and extrinsic (volatiles) cues is proposed to explain the behavioural ontogeny of JIV in relation to the beetle vector.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Entomology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA


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