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Boarding abilities of Bursaphelenchus mucronatus and B. xylophilus (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae) on Monochamus alternatus (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae)

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Bursaphelenchus mucronatus is closely related to Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, the causative agent of pine wilt disease. Both nematodes are transmitted between host pine trees as the fourth-stage dispersal juveniles (JIV) by insect vectors. After the invasion of Japan by B. xylophilus, B. mucronatus, native to Japan, appears to have been replaced in the pine forests during the spread of the disease. To help understand this species replacement, the number of JIV carried by an insect vector (the initial nematode load) was compared between the two nematode species by using the beetle, Monochamus alternatus, in the laboratory. The initial load of B. mucronatus was significantly smaller than that of B. xylophilus although the number of third-stage dispersal juveniles (JIII) concentrated at the pupal chambers did not differ. Statistical analysis showed that the proportion of JIII moulting to JIV was the most important among three components explaining the difference in the initial load of B. mucronatus while the number of JIII concentrated at the pupal chamber was the most important for B. xylophilus. The phoretic affinity between the nematode and its vector is discussed in relation to its role in the species replacement.


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