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The Feeding Behaviour of Tylenchorhynchus and Merlini Us Species and Their Effect On Growth of Perennial Ryegrass

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The feeding behaviour and length of individual feeds on perennial ryegrass roots varied with the different species of both Tylenchorhynchus and Merlinius. T. dubius, T. lamelliferus and T. maximus fed in the manner of browsing ectoparasites initially on epidermal cells along the root but T. maximus also fed in marked aggregations on root tips causing mechanical breakdown of epidermal, cortical and undifferentiated cells of the vascular cylinder resulting in cessation of root growth. Aggregation on root tips also occurred with T. lamelliferus to a lesser extent. No aggregation was observed with any of the Merlinius species. M. brevidens and M. nothus exhibited a simple, browsing feeding behaviour with short feeds on both root hairs and epidermal cells, whereas M. icarus and M. macrurus fed, either as sedentary ectoparasites remaining for many hours or days feeding continuously at the one site, or as migratory semi-endoparasites with their heads embedded in the outer cortical cells of roots. Neither M. icarus nor T. maximus caused reduction in total shoot or root growth in soil. Feeding by T. maximus on root tips of ryegrass seedlings resulted in decreased growth of main roots but an increase in lateral root growth.

Affiliations: 1: Imperial College at Silwood Park, London University, Ascot, Berks., England


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