Persistence of Heterorhabditis Infective Juveniles in Soil: Comparison of Extraction and Infectivity Measurements


  • B. Hass
  • C. T. Griffin
  • M. J. Downes


baermann funnel, centrifugal flotation, dissection, entomopathogenic nematode, heterorhabditis bacteriophora, heterorhabditis megidis, infectivity, ld50, nematode, persistence, soil baiting, soil dilution, soil ecology, soil extraction


The persistence of Heterorhabditis megidis in soil was studied over a 4-week period. On days 0, 2, 14, and 28, infective juveniles (IJ) were extracted by centrifugal flotation, Baermann funnel, and baiting of soil with Tenebrio molitor larvae, which were then dissected. Extraction efficiencies on day 0 were 82% by centrifugal flotation, 56% by Baermann funnel, and 19.8% by bait insect. The relative efficiency of the three methods changed over time. The relationship between the density of nematodes in the soil and the proportion recovered by dissection was non-linear. Up to a dose of approximately 60 IJ/insect, less than 12% became established, while at higher doses (up to 200 IJ/insect) the invasion efficiency was 23%. Mortality of bait insects increased from day 0 to day 2, but decreased to day 28. A novel method of assessing soil pathogenicity by preparing a soil density series and calculating the dose of soil or IJ that kills 50% of the bait insects gave a similar pattern. This method is recommended as a means of tracking changes in pathogenicity over time when bait insect mortality in undiluted soil is at or near 100%. Two methods of preparing a series of Heterorhabditis IJ densities in soil, either by diluting the soil itself with IJ-free soil or by adding diluted suspensions of IJ to the soil, resulted in the same bait insect mortalities.