Postembryonic Development of the Redwood Nematode, Rhizonema sequoiae (Nemata: Heteroderidae)


  • I. Cid Del Prado Vera
  • A. R. Maggenti
  • B. F. Lownsbery


Second-stage larvae of Rhizonema sequoiae Cid del Prado Vera et al. developed into adult females in 6 months or adult males in 3 - 4 months on roots of Sequoia sempervirens maintained in a growth chamber at 16 C with a 12-hour light period. Under these conditions the second-stage larvae increased in diameter, the central cells of the genital primordium increased in size, and their nuclei enlarged. Mesenchymal cells accumulated in the esophageal and tail regions. Second-stage larvae become third-stage males or females 2 months after inoculation of redwood roots. Their sex could be distinguished by the ratio of length to width of the genital primordium, 3.4 for males and 1.6 for females. The stylet in both sexes became slender, the median bulb became robust and almost spherical, and rings of punctation on the cuticle were evident. Fourth-stage females developed in 3 months from the time of inoculation, and fourth-stage males in slightly less time. At this stage the females were more swollen than the males, the rectum was conspicuous, their reproductive system was in the process of elongation, and the annulation of the cuticle was more evident. The ratio of males to females was 2.3. Mature females were completely inside the roots and did not form cysts. The cuticle was entirely annulated, and the first eggs were detected inside the female 4 months after inoculation and started the production of abundant gelatin-like material. The new generation of second-stage larvae hatched inside the female 2 months after she matured, completing the life cycle in 8 months. The redwood nematode also completed its life cycle in 8 months under greenhouse conditions, but the ratio of males to females increased to 7.4. The entire nematode population died out at 25 C after 6 months. In a Marin County, California, forest, where this nematode occurs naturally, the temperature averaged only 9 C over the November to June period of this study, and the redwood nematode reached the fourth stage with a male-to-female ratio of 1.8. Key words: redwood nematode, life history, temperature.