Thermotactic Response of Some Plant Parasitic Nematodes


  • M. El-Sherif
  • W. F. Mai


Attraction of Ditylenchus dipsaci and Pratylenchus penetrans to a temperature gradient was tested. Heating wires, infrared radiations and germinating alfalfa seeds were used to create a temperature gradient as small as 0.033 C/cm in agar. P. penetrans, D. dipsaci, and Tylenchorhynchus claytoni responded to a temperature gradient of 0.033 C over a 4-cm distance from the heat source. Trichodorus christiei and Xiphinema arnericanum showed no response. Individuals of P. penetrans oriented their heads towards the heat source and moved directly towards it from a 1-cm distance within 10 rain. When the heat was turned off the nematodes dispersed, but when the heat was turned on again, they reassembled. Heat from germinating alfalfa seeds, in the absence of CO[sub2], attracted P. penetrans. Carbon dioxide emanating from germinating alfalfa seeds failed to attract them in the absence of heat, even after 24 hr.