Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Pratylenchus goodeyi
(banana lesion nematode)



Pratylenchus goodeyi (banana lesion nematode)


  • Last modified
  • 15 July 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Pratylenchus goodeyi
  • Preferred Common Name
  • banana lesion nematode
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Nematoda
  •       Family: Pratylenchidae
  •         Genus: Pratylenchus

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Field damage caused by P. goodeyi on highland bananas.
TitleDamage symptoms on banana crop
CaptionField damage caused by P. goodeyi on highland bananas.
CopyrightJohn Bridge
Field damage caused by P. goodeyi on highland bananas.
Damage symptoms on banana cropField damage caused by P. goodeyi on highland bananas.John Bridge
Toppled/uprooted highland banana due to P. goodeyi.
TitleDamage symptoms on banana crop
CaptionToppled/uprooted highland banana due to P. goodeyi.
CopyrightJohn Bridge
Toppled/uprooted highland banana due to P. goodeyi.
Damage symptoms on banana cropToppled/uprooted highland banana due to P. goodeyi.John Bridge
P. goodeyi lesions on toppled banana roots in Tanzania.
TitleDamage symptoms on banana roots
CaptionP. goodeyi lesions on toppled banana roots in Tanzania.
CopyrightJohn Bridge
P. goodeyi lesions on toppled banana roots in Tanzania.
Damage symptoms on banana rootsP. goodeyi lesions on toppled banana roots in Tanzania.John Bridge
P. goodeyi lesions on plantains in Cameroon.
TitleDamage symptoms on plantains
CaptionP. goodeyi lesions on plantains in Cameroon.
CopyrightJohn Bridge
P. goodeyi lesions on plantains in Cameroon.
Damage symptoms on plantainsP. goodeyi lesions on plantains in Cameroon.John Bridge


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Pratylenchus goodeyi Sher & Allen, 1953

Preferred Common Name

  • banana lesion nematode

Other Scientific Names

  • Anguillulina musicola Apud Goodey, 1932
  • Tylenchus musicola Apud Goodey, 1928

EPPO code

  • PRATGO (Pratylenchus goodeyi)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Nematoda
  •             Family: Pratylenchidae
  •                 Genus: Pratylenchus
  •                     Species: Pratylenchus goodeyi


Top of page (After Sher and Allen, 1953; de Guiran and Vilardebó, 1962). Female: body slender, after killing by heat almost straight but slightly curved ventrally in the posterior region. Lateral field with four inconspicuous incisures. Lip region with four annules. Stylet 16-18 µm with pronounced knobs flattened anteriorly. Vulva anterior, 71-78%. Genital tract mono-prodelphic. Post-vulval sac about a vulval body width long. Spermatheca large, sub-rectangular in shape and filled with sperm. Tail conoid, ventrally concave with the dorsal contour sinuate just prior to the tail tip. Tail usually with 22-24 ventral annules (range 19-27). Phasmid usually conspicuous, 10-14 annules from the tail tip.

Measurements (after Sher and Allen, 1953). Female: L=0.64-0.68 mm; a=27-37; b=5.5-6.1; c=16-18; V=(30-41)73-75(3.4-4.5). Male: L=0.55-0.57 mm; a=26; b=5.4-5.8; c=17-18.


Top of page The distribution of P. goodeyi is very closely linked to altitude and temperature; it is found almost exclusively in the upland areas known as the afro-montane highlands of Africa (Bridge, 1988; Sarah, 1989; Bridge et al., 1995; Price and Bridge, 1995). In Uganda, it is the only banana nematode root pest found over 1600 m above sea level (Kashaija et al., 1994). In Africa, it is a pest of banana, plantain and ensete grown in cooler climates outside the tropical lowlands, and has a lower temperature preference than the other major nematode pest of bananas, Radopholus similis. P. goodeyi had been considered a species indigenous to East Africa, where it is recognized as an important pest of highland bananas in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, and of ensete in Ethiopia (Gichure and Ondieki, 1977; Bridge, 1988; Sarah, 1989; Peregrine and Bridge, 1992; Kashaija et al., 1994). However, it is also found in the highlands of Cameroon, West Africa (Bridge et al., 1995). It is the main nematode pest of bananas in the Canary Islands (de Guiran and Vilardebó, 1962), and the species has also been reliably identified from the Nile delta region, from Crete (Oteifa, 1962; Vovlas et al., 1994), and from one locality in Australia (New South Wales) (Bridge et al., 1997).

In East and West Africa, P. goodeyi is exclusively a pest of smallholder cultivation and is generally absent from the commercial banana plantations of the lowland areas. This would explain why the species has not been disseminated worldwide, as have other nematode pests on commercial bananas (Bridge et al., 1995).

Because of the close association of P. goodeyi with the highland or afro-montane areas in Africa, knowledge of these areas enables predictions to be made as to the possible distribution of P. goodeyi. Price and Bridge (1995) suggest that the nematode probably also occurs at altitude on the island of Fernando Po (Equatorial Guinea), just off the Cameroon coast, and could also occur in highland areas in Malawi, Mozambique and southern Africa. Additionally, there are strong similarities between the afro-montane flora of Cameroon and those of the Nimba Highlands of the Guinea/Sierra Leone/Côte d'Ivoire region, and also with the Western Angolan Escarpment, and it is possible that P. goodeyi will also be found in both these regions.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HainanPresentZhang et al., 2015
PakistanPresentAatika et al., 2017


BurundiPresentBridge, 1988; CABI/EPPO, 2000
CameroonPresentBridge et al., 1995; CABI/EPPO, 2000
EgyptPresentOteifa, 1962; CABI/EPPO, 2000
EthiopiaPresentPeregrine and Bridge, 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000; Berg and Mekete, 2010
KenyaPresentGichure and Ondieki, 1977; CABI/EPPO, 2000
RwandaPresentSarah, 1989; CABI/EPPO, 2000
-Canary IslandsPresentde Guiran & Vilardeho, 1962; CABI/EPPO, 2000
TanzaniaPresentBridge, 1988; CABI/EPPO, 2000
UgandaPresentMachon & Hunt, 1985; CABI/EPPO, 2000


GreecePresentVovlas et al., 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2000
-CretePresentCABI/EPPO, 2000
PortugalRestricted distributionCABI/EPPO, 2000
-MadeiraPresentCABI/EPPO, 2000
SpainRestricted distributionCABI/EPPO, 2000


AustraliaRestricted distributionBridge et al., 1997; CABI/EPPO, 2000
-New South WalesPresentBridge et al., 1997; CABI/EPPO, 2000
-QueenslandPresentPattison et al., 2002

Risk of Introduction

Top of page Endoparasitic nematodes of banana such as P. goodeyi are disseminated on banana vegetative planting material, and the presence of P. goodeyi in the Canary Islands, Crete and Egypt is almost certainly due to their introduction on planting material. Bananas were introduced to the Canary Islands in the 19th century, in part based on Cavendish banana plants raised in greenhouses in the UK. Banana in the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK, is the type locality of P. goodeyi, which may therefore have been introduced to the Canaries and Egypt on infected plants from European greenhouses. Plant quarantine procedures should be followed to prevent the further dissemination of P. goodeyi to other warm, temperate banana-growing areas such as Spain or Turkey where it is not yet established (Price and Bridge, 1995).

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page The few investigations that have been made on hosts of P. goodeyi show that the nematode has a narrow host range.

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Pre-emergence, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage


Top of page The endoparasitic root feeding of P. goodeyi produces necrotic lesions and destruction of cortical tissues. The lesions are initially yellow, but change to a characteristic purple and then brown when examined internally. The root surface over necrosed tissues turns black. The ensuing reduction in nutrient and water uptake causes a stunting of growth, nutrient deficiency including chlorosis, small bunches, and weak or reduced followers in bananas and plantains. Nematode feeding on tissues can cause breaking of roots around the areas of necrotic tissue, leading to toppling or uprooting of plants and the complete loss of bunches. Stunted, severely infested bananas with relatively small bunches generally have less tendency to topple compared with taller infested plants with larger and heavier bunches.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Roots / cortex with lesions
Roots / internal feeding
Roots / soft rot of cortex
Roots / stubby roots

Biology and Ecology

Top of page P. goodeyi is a migratory endoparasitic nematode feeding in the cortex of banana, plantain and ensete roots, causing brown to purplish lesions which can spread throughout a large proportion of the roots. All stages of the nematode can invade the roots; eggs are laid in the root tissues or in the soil. The species multiplies at a significantly greater rate at lower temperatures of 16-21°C, and considerably less at higher temperatures of 25°C and above, compared with other, similar endoparasitic nematodes of banana (Pinochet et al., 1995). This accounts for its distribution in the cooler highlands of Africa and its presence in the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean.

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page No natural enemies have been recorded for P. goodeyi.

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes adults; eggs; juveniles Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Growing medium accompanying plants adults; eggs; juveniles Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Roots adults; eggs; juveniles Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants adults; eggs; juveniles Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Fruits (inc. pods)
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
True seeds (inc. grain)


Top of page P. goodeyi is the main nematode species and a major pest causing yield losses in East African highland bananas (Musa AAA-EA) in the highlands of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, and in highland bananas and plantains at high elevations in Cameroon (Gichure and Ondieki, 1977; Sarah, 1989; Sikora et al., 1989; Kashaija et al., 1994) and of ensete in Ethiopia (Peregrine and Bridge, 1992). In the Canary Islands, P. goodeyi is a widespread root pest of bananas and a cause of production losses; here, as also in Crete and Egypt, P. goodeyi has been recorded as primarily a parasite of Cavendish bananas (de Guiran and Vilardebó, 1962; Oteifa, 1962; Vovlas et al., 1994).

In the main highland banana-growing area of Tanzania, P. goodeyi was found in 94.5% of farms sampled, and was directly associated with toppling and other symptoms of crop damage in 84% of these farms (Bridge, 1988).


Top of page P. goodeyi can be extracted from both soil and roots using standard nematological techniques (Southey, 1986; Hooper, 1990), but root extractions will give more meaningful results in relation to root and crop damage. The methods used for diagnosis are similar to those described for Pratylenchus coffeae and Radopholus similis. The nematodes can be detected by inspecting and extracting nematodes from roots and bases of pseudostems (corms) in banana, plantain and ensete.


For bananas and plantains, root samples are collected by digging a rectangular trench 20 cm wide by 20 cm deep, 25 cm from the corm of the mother (oldest) stem. Roots are cut near the corm and at the end of the trench; surface roots and those that are dried and shrivelled are discarded. The plant material is carefully washed free of soil and/or debris before extracting. A representative root sample taken from one or a number of plants is chopped in 0.5 cm lengths, mixed thoroughly, and a 5-10 g subsample taken for processing. A 24-h period of incubation is sufficient for macerated root samples. Chopped roots should be incubated for 2-4 days and mist extractions may be run for up to 14 days in some laboratories. Nematode populations are normally shown as per 100 g of fresh roots, although this amount is not used for extraction.

Chopped plant material: most endoparasitic nematodes will move out of plant material if it is first chopped into 0.5-1 cm lengths or portions. These are placed on the tissue of a Baermann funnel or on a fine sieve, etc. and kept in a Petri dish or similar container. This is left for up to 72 h, but can be examined earlier.

Macerated plant material: roots are cut into short lengths and placed in an electric mixer with a quantity of water. Maceration for 5 s at half speed and then 10 s at full speed is normally sufficient to break open the plant material without damaging the nematodes. The macerated material is poured onto the tissue of a Baermann funnel or a fine sieve in a Petri dish, and left as above.

Mistifier technique: this requires more elaborate apparatus. A continuous fine mist of water is sprayed onto chopped plant material suspended on a sieve over a funnel. The emerging nematodes are washed into the funnel and collected in a container, where they settle to the bottom and excess water overflows.

Hydrogen peroxide technique (Gowen and Edmunds, 1973): this method, which has been shown to be most effective, consists of maceration of roots, washing through a bank of sieves and then incubation of the remaining root material in dilute (1%) hydrogen peroxide and some liquid detergent (1 ml/l) for about 2 days. The recovery of nematodes from chopped rather than macerated roots is reduced, possibly because of oxygen starvation or exhaustion of the nematodes. Washing after maceration removes inactive and damaged nematodes that would not be recovered by incubation; it also washes away any phenolic compounds released by the roots (for example, bananas) which may inactivate nematodes during incubation. For the incubation period hydrogen peroxide is used both to provide oxygen for the nematodes and to oxidize any further phenols that may be released by the roots. Liquid detergent ensures that all surfaces of the macerated root tissue are thoroughly wetted.

Direct recovery techniques using maceration and sieving (Vilardebó et al., 1972), or maceration and flocculation/flotation (Escobar and Rodriguez-Kabana, 1980; Hooper, 1990) can also be used.

Visual Assessment

Where nematologists or laboratory facilities are unavailable, nematode damage is sometimes assessed by recording the incidence of toppling/uprooting per hectare per month (Tarté and Pinochet, 1981). This may also be correlated with assessments of necrosis on primary root and on rhizomes taken from randomly selected plants from a plantation (Stover, 1972; Tarté and Pinochet, 1981; Bridge, 1988; Sikora et al., 1989).

Assessment of root necrosis caused by P. goodeyi is a useful and practical means of determining damage in the field. As for extraction, root samples are collected by digging a rectangular trench 20 cm wide by 20 cm deep, 25 cm from the corm of the mother (oldest) stem. Five or six roots approximately 10-15 cm long are used for assessment from each plant. The roots are cut longitudinally to expose the cortex and stele (central vascular cylinder) and laid side by side. The severity of root damage is assessed by estimating the amount of cortical tissue necrosed as a percentage of total cortical tissues exposed in the six roots (Broadley, 1979; Pinochet, 1988; Bridge, 1988; Bridge and Gowen, 1993).

The other symptoms of damage related to banana root destruction by nematodes are toppling of plants and stunted growth, poor followers, and reduced bunch size. Toppling caused by nematodes is characterized by uprooting of the corm with the remains of necrosed roots still attached. Assessing the amount of toppling/uprooting in a plantation can help in determining the extent of nematode damage.

Detection and Inspection

Top of page P. goodeyi can be detected in the roots and corms of banana, plantain and ensete by the characteristic purplish necrosis that occurs in nematode lesions throughout the cortex. This necrosis does not extend into the stele, which remains white in growing roots. The symptoms can be most easily observed if roots are cut longitudinally. Two similar nematodes (Pratylenchus coffeae and Radopholus similis) also cause the same symptoms (see Similarities to Other Pests), and in order to distinguish them they have to be extracted from roots and examined microscopically.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page Distinguishing between species of the genus Pratylenchus can be difficult without expert taxonomic assistance. The other nematodes found in roots of bananas and plantains, with which P. goodeyi may be confused, include another species of Pratylenchus, P. coffeae, and the banana burrowing nematode Radopholus similis. All three species produce the same and indistinguishable symptoms of root and crop damage.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.


The different practices used for controlling P. goodeyi are the same as for other lesion nematodes of banana, Pratylenchus coffeae and Radopholus similis. In permanent cultivation, the opportunities for control are limited to regular nematicide treatment; however, in subsistence cultivation the only realistic or economically justifiable techniques for preserving losses due to nematodes may be by applying large quantities of mulch to stimulate root growth, and by propping fruit stems. Established practices for decreasing nematode populations in different banana-growing systems are described here (after Gowen and Quénéhervé, 1990; Quénéhervé, 1993).

Replanted System

1. Rotation or break with non-host crops, e.g. cassava.
2. Flooding for 8 weeks after having destroyed previous banana crop.
3. Fallow in absence of banana volunteers for 10-12 months.
4. Use of disease-free suckers (from nurseries or clean land) as planting material.
5. Use of in vitro-produced plants.
6. Paring diseased tissue from corms.
7. Paring and leaving large corms in the sun for 14 days.
8. Heat treatment (hot water, solarization) of corms before planting.
9. Coating corms with nematicide in mud.
10. Applying nematicide to planting hole and in-fill soil.
11. Regular spot applications with granular or liquid nematicide formulations.

Permanent Plantations

1. Regular spot applications with granular or liquid nematicide formulations.
2. Growing resistant or tolerant cultivars.
3. Heavy mulches with organic wastes.
4. Propping fruiting stems with poles or with string guy ropes to prevent plants uprooting.


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Aatika S; Nasira K; Shahina F, 2017. Description of Filenchus maqbooli n. sp., and redescriptions of five new records of plant parasitic nematodes of maize crops from Punjab, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Nematology, 35(1):47-64.

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Escobar J; Rodriguez-Kabana R, 1980. Comparison between a flotation method and a sieving method for determination of Radopholus similis in banana roots. Nematropica, 10(2):86-88

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