Dynamics of Belonolaimus longicaudatus Parasitism on a Susceptible St. Augustinegrass Host


  • Robin M. Giblin-Davis
  • Philip Busey
  • Barbara J. Center


St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) cv FX-313 was used as a model laboratory host for monitoring population growth of the sting nematode, Belonolaimus longicaudatus, and for quantifying the effects of sting nematode parasitism on host performance in two samples of autoclaved native Margate fine sand with contrasting amounts of organic matter (OM = 7.9% and 3.8%). Following inoculation with 50 Belonolaimus longicaudatus per pot, nematodes peaked at a mean of 2,139 nematodes per pot 84 days after inoculation, remained stable through 168 days at 2,064 nematodes per pot, and declined at 210 days. The relative numbers of juveniles and adults demonstrated senescence after 84 days. Root dry weight of nematode-inoculated plants increased briefly to an apparent equilibrium 84 days after inoculation, whereas root weights of uninoculated controls continued to increase, exceeding those of inoculated plants from 84 to 210 days (P 0.01). At 210 days, uninoculated plants had 227% the root dry weight of inoculated plants. Transpiration of FX-313 was reduced by nematodes (P 0.0001) at 84 and 126 days after inoculation; reduction was first observed at 42 days and last observed 168 days after inoculation (P 0.05). OM content affected all plant performance variables at multiple dates, and generally there were no inoculation x OM content interactions. OM content had no effect on nematode numbers per pot, although there was a slight (P 0.05) increase in the number of nematodes per gram root dry weight in the low-OM soil compared with the high-OM soil. Key words: Belonolairnus longicaudatus, nematode, population dynamics, resistance screening, soil organic matter, St. Augustinegrass, Stenotaphrum secundatum, sting nematode, turfgrass.