Colonization of Greenhouse Nematode Cultures by Nematophagous Mites and Fungi


  • D. E. Walter
  • D. T. Kaplan
  • E. L. Davis


Unproductive 7-year-old greenhouse cultures of citrus nematode (Tylenchulus semipenetrans) had a well-developed soil invertebrate fauna that included nematophagous mite species characteristic of Florida citrus groves. Nematophagous mite densities in box cultures were 285 ± 42 mites/liter, 2.5 to 25 times higher than densities in citrus nematode-infested groves. Vigorous root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) cultures grown in steam-pasteurized soil had few nematophagous mites until more than 3 months after inoculation. Mite species diversity had a significant (P 0.0001) positive linear relationship with culture age that explained about one-half the variance in species number. Nematophagous mite densities rose and then fell with culture age. In root-knot cultures 3-months-old, mite densities often exceeded 1,000 mites/liter. Twelve species of nematophagous fungi also were isolated from greenhouse nematode cultures. Key words: biological control, culture, fungus, mite, nematode, nematophagous fungus, Meloidogyne incognita, Tylenchulus semipenetrans.