Morphological Variation in Pratylenchus penetrans


  • Rodrigo Tarte
  • W. F. Mai


Variability of morphological characters used to separate Pratylenchus penetrans from other species of the genus was studied in a population originating from a single gravid female. Pronounced heteromorphism was observed and characterized. About 30% of females had a crenate-tail terminus. Several shapes of stylet knobs were characterized; 50% of them were anteriorly flattened to indented. The outer margin of the cephalic framework extended into the body from one-half to two annules. The shape of the spermatheca varied from round to oval. A fifth lateral line was observed in many specimens. Environmental factors, and particularly the host plant, influenced such morphometric characters as body length, width, esophagus length, stylet length, V value, a and b' ratios, as well as qualitative characters such as tail terminus, growth of ovary, and shape of median bulb. Nematodes reared on pea and cabbage had a higher percentage of females with a crenate-tail terminus than those from tomato, rye, beet, and alfalfa callus culture. Nematodes from peas were longer and wider; they often had gonads that extended to esophagi, but they had shorter esophagi amt stylets than those from callus culture. Populations from different geographical locations also exhibited variahility in morphological characters, as did the Cornell population. The validity of many characters used in species identification is discussed, and the possibility that other related Pratylenchus species are conspecific with P. penetrans is suggested. Key Words: taxonomy, crenate tail, smooth tail, host effect, selective response.