The Feeding Behavior of Adult Root-knot Nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita) in Rose Balsam and Tomato


  • Nao Miyashita
  • Tetsuo Yabu
  • Takayuki Kurihara
  • Hironori Koga


Meloidogyne incognita is a parasitic root-knot nematode that causes considerable yield loss in a wide range of plants. In this study we documented the movement of adult female nematodes for more than 2 hr in micro-slices of infected tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and rose balsam (Impatiens balsamina) plants using light and video microscopy. Stylet thrusting was followed by short pumping actions of the esophagus, dorsal esophageal gland ampulla, and metacorpal bulb. Regular thrusting was normally accompanied by head turning and always preceded continuous stylet thrusting aimed at a single point (for 20 to 90 sec). Females often held the stylet in a protruded position, while pulsating the metacorpus bulb, for about 30 sec. Subsequently, the stylet was paused in a retracted position for 5 to 40 sec. This sequence of behavior took 290 to 380 sec to complete. The procedure developed in this study provides a useful cytological technique to investigate the interaction between root-knot nematodes and the giant cells formed by infected plants. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the head of the adult nematode was located in the narrow intercellular spaces among several giant cells. The anterior part of the head of the adult was folded like a concertina, whereas that of the second-stage juvenile was not. The labial disc and medial lips of second-stage juveniles seemed expanded and sturdy, whereas those of the adult were star-shaped, appeared to be contracted, and softer. These morphological differences in the heads of adult and second-stage juveniles are discussed with respect to their movement.






Contributed Papers: Behavior