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Passive Ingestion in a Plant Nematode, Hexatylus Viviparus (Neotylenchidae : Tylenchida)

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For more content, see Nematology.

Plant nematodes are supposed to have a high body pressure and to need a powerful pharyngeal pump to overcome this pressure when ingesting food. Feeding of Hexatylus viviparus on Botrytis cinerea was watched and filmed and rapid ingestion occurred repeatedly without any signs of pumping. The nematode's body kinks easily, indicating an unusually low body pressure, and it relaxes still further during ingestion. Only turgid hyphae are fed on and some contents spurt from the penetration hole if the nematode withdraws its stylet before completing the feed. From this and other evidence we conclude that during the feeding of H. viviparus food flows passively from the hypha where pressure is high, into the nematode where it is lower. The salivary glands themselves probably generate the pressure necessary to inject saliva into the host. This is the first description of passive ingestion by a plant nematode.

Affiliations: 1: Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Herts., England


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