Survey of Heterorhabditidae and Steinernematidae (Rhabditida, Nematoda) in Western Canada


  • Zdenek Mracek
  • John M. Webster


A survey was done in the summer months along the Alaska Highway, in other parts of British Columbia, in northern Alberta, and in the Yukon Territory for steinernematid and heterorhabditid nematodes occurring in the top 10 cm of soil. Steinernemafeltiae and Steinernema spp. were found at 18 and Heterorhabditis megidis at 7 sites of 125 sampled. Most nematodes were found where visible insect infestation occurred and where human influence on the habitat was substantial (e.g., agricultural, forested and bush-hedgerow habitats); none was found in grassland or virgin forests. Heterorhabditis megidis occurred in only the southern, warmer, drier region of British Columbia. In the laboratory some steinernematid isolates and H. megidis killed Galleria mellonella larvae at 13 and 22 C, whereas some isolates of Steinernema killed the larvae at only 13 C. Steinernema spp. from three high altitude sites with low, average July temperatures (13-14 C) are cold-active in that they produced infective juveniles at 13 C and killed G. mellonella at 6 C. Key words: biological control, entomopathogenic nematode, Heterorhabditidae, low-temperature activity, nematode, Steinernenaatidae, survey, temperature.