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Differential susceptibility of entomopathogenic nematodes to nematophagous fungi from Florida citrus orchards

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Laboratory experiments were conducted to study the effects of various trapping and endoparasitic nematophagous fungi (NF) isolated from Florida citrus orchards on five entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) species that show various distributions across Florida's citrus industry. Four trapping NF (Arthrobotrys oligospora, A. dactyloides, A. musiformis and Gamsylella gephyropaga) and two endoparasitic NF (Catenaria sp. and Myzocytium sp.) were tested against Steinernema diaprepesi (Sd), S. glaseri (Sg), S. riobrave (Sr), Heterorhabditis zealandica (Hz) and H. indica (Hi). Fungi were added to soil microcosms either as a pure culture on agar plugs (trapping NF) or as fungal-colonised nematodes (endoparasitic NF) on agar plugs, concurrently with 2000 EPN of a given species. After 7 or 14 days exposure, nematodes were recovered from the soil using Baermann funnels. The recovery of all EPN species was reduced between 56-92% by G. gephyropaga. Neither Sd or Sg were affected by any species of Arthrobotrys, whereas A. musiformis reduced recovery of all other EPN and A. oligospora reduced numbers of all other species except Hi. Both endoparasitic NF reduced the recovery of all EPN except Hi by at least 82%. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that NF may play a role in regulating regional patterns of abundance and diversity of EPN species in Florida, which in turn regulate the abundance of a major citrus pest, the Diaprepes root weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus.

Affiliations: 1: Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, IFAS, Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850-2299, USA; Plant Protection Department, Faculty of Agriculture, El Zagazig University, Zagazig, Egypt; 2: Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, IFAS, Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850-2299, USA; 3: Departamento de Proteccion Vegetal, INIA, Carretera de La Coruña Km 7, 28040 Madrid, Spain


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