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Dynamics of Multiplication of Radopholus Similis 1)

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For more content, see Nematology.

Comparison of the populations of the burrowing nematode (Radopholus similis (Cobb)) in the rootlets of infected citrus trees with those in rootlets of test plants in gnotobiotic cultures gave insight into the reproductive potential and population growth of the parasite. The numbers of nematodes extracted from parasitized citrus rootlets of grove trees averaged 52 per gram of rootlets and ranged from 7 to 152. The numbers in discrete lesions varied from 1 to 739 and averaged 118. The ratio of males to females was 1 to 10.4 and the percentage of males in sample collections ranged from 0 to 40 per cent. In contrast, the populations of nematodes in rootlets of infected seedlings maintained in gnotobiotic cultures increased from an average of 5 in cultures of 10 days old to an average of 11,092 in cultures 85 days old, with a maximum of 47,113 nematodes and 47,305 eggs in 1 colony 85 days old. The rate at which R. similis laid eggs in gnotobiotic cultures varied from 0.5 to 6 eggs per female per day and averaged 1.8. The life cycle was completed in 18 to 20 days at 24° to 27° C. R. similis in gnotobiotic cultures had a reproductive rate that was strictly arithmetic during the first 19 days, the time required to complete a life cycle. Thereafter, it was essentially logarithmic, with a slope of approximately 0,05 log units per day. After 55 days, population pressures were so great that actual populations began to fall much below the theoretical ones. Males alone did not penetrate rootlets and form lesions and there was no evidence of intersex among the males. In gnotobiotic cultures, the first generation of females and sometimes the second, laid viable eggs and produced an active colony of males and females although no males had been introduced into the colony.

Affiliations: 1: University of Florida Citrus Experiment Station, Lake Alfred and University of Florida Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A., respectively


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