Infectivity of Pratylenchus penetrans on Alfalfa


  • J. L. Townshend


The infectivity of Pratylenchus penetrans on alfalfa seedlings cv. Du Pulls was studied. The dense root-hair zone was the preferred zone of penetration by females, males, and third-stage larvae. A lesion initially appeared as a water-soaked area at the root surface, becoming yellow and elliptical as the nematode entered the cortex, with dark-brown cells later appearing in the centre as the nematode fed. At 20 C, females penetrated roots earlier, faster, and in greater numbers than either males or third-stage larvae. Females penetrated roots at temperatures from 5 to 35 C, with maximum penetration between 10 and 30 C, while males and third-stage larvae penetrated roots only between 10 and 30 C with maximum penetration a t 20 C. Penetration of roots by females, males, and third-stage larvae increased after storage of 5 C for 35 days, but decreased after storage of 140 days or more. Combinations of the three life stages in pairs neither enhanced nor inhibited penetration of roots by individual life stages; males were not attracted to females. Increasing inoculum density up to 20 nematodes/seedling did not affect penetration. Key Words: root-lesion nematode, penetration, lesion, Medicago sativum.