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Prey preference and feeding behaviour of the diplogastrid predator Mononchoides gaugleri (Nematoda: Diplogastrida)

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Prey preference and feeding behaviour of Mononchoides gaugleri were studied using 11 phytoparasitic nematode species as prey. A full range of prey preferences were detected in no choice and paired choice predator-prey experiments. Meloidogyne incognita, Heterodera mothi and Anguina tritici juveniles (coefficient of preference = 0.92-1.00) were highly preferred as prey by M. gaugleri in all tests. The second tier of prey preference was occupied by the adult Hirschmanniella oryzae, Tylenchorhynchus mashhoodi, Xiphinema americanum and Paratrichodorus christiei (coefficient of preference = 0.19-0.67), and the third tier by Longidorus attenuatus and Helicotylenchus indicus (coefficient of preference = −0.15-−0.57). Hemicriconemoides mangiferae and Hoplolaimus indicus were not preyed upon. Mononchoides gaugleri attacked H. mothi and A. tritici (maximum strike rate (SR)= 92-94%), which has resulted in maximal prey wounding (encounters resulted in wounding (EW) = 46-47%). Longidorus attenuatus was attacked minimally (SR = 42%) with fewest casualties (EW = 21%). Hirschmanniella oryzae, H. mothi and M. incognita were most susceptible (prey susceptibility (PS) = 87.5-93.5%), whereas X. americanum and P. christiei were highly resistant prey species (prey resistance (PR) = 66.7-74.2%). Temperature and prey density governed predator feeding activities, with optimal search duration at 20-30°C and 150-225 prey. The shortest and longest feeding durations of Mononchoides gaugleri were recorded for M. incognita and L. attenuatus, respectively. Predation was density-dependent.


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