Belonolaimus longicaudatus (sting nematode)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Seedborne Aspects
- Plant Trade
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Belonolaimus longicaudatus Rau, 1958
Preferred Common Name
- sting nematode
- BELOLO (Belonolaimus longicaudatus)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Nematoda
- Family: Belonolaimidae
- Genus: Belonolaimus
- Species: Belonolaimus longicaudatus
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page B. longicaudatus was first described by Rau (1958). Before Rau's paper the predominant sting nematode in the USA was considered to be B. gracilis. This is now thought unlikely because most records prior to 1958 probably referred to B. longicaudatus (Thorne, 1961; Smart and Nguyen, 1991); B. gracilis is a relatively uncommon species in southern USA.
DescriptionTop of page Measurements (after Rau, 1958, 1961)
Female (n=53): L=2.0-3.0 mm; a=55-75; b=7.2-12.6; c=13-21; c'=3.5-6.0; V=46-54; spear=100-140 µm; tail length=115-183 µm; phasmid to terminus=79-129 µm; spear length divided by tail length=0.67-1.14.
Male (n=50): L=2.0-3.0 mm; a=54-76; b=6.3-8.1; c=13-17; spear=107-132 µm; tail length=100-157 µm; phasmid to terminus=74-129 µm; spear length divided by tail length=0.76-1.19; spicule length along chord=38-49 µm; gubernaculum=15-18 µm.
Female (n=136) (after Rau, 1963): L=2.509 (1.986-3.012) mm; V=49 (46-54); spear=127 (115-140) µm; conus=93 (84-102) µm; shaft=34 (28-39) µm; tail length=154 (115-189) µm.
Description (after Orton Williams, 1974)
Lip region hemispherical, divided by lateral, dorsal and ventral grooves into four main lobes, each bearing six or more horizontal striations. Lip region generally set off from body by a deep constriction, although this may be less well marked in some populations. Lateral fields marked by a single incisure extending from the base of the lip region to near the tail terminus. Spear 110-140 µm long, thin, flexible with rounded knobs. When retracted the anterior oesophagus is convoluted. Median bulb well developed with prominent valve plates. Excretory pore posterior to median bulb with hemizonid just anterior to it. Oesophageal glands lobe-like and extending over anterior portion of intestine. Vulva a transverse slit, lips not protruding and located in the mid-region of the body. Vagina with opposing pairs of cuticularized pieces in lateral view. Genital tract amphididelphic, outstretched. Spermathecae present. Tail 115-189 µm long, about five times anal body width long and subcylindroid with a rounded terminus. Hyaline portion 5.9 (4.2-7.8) µm long. Phasmids inconspicuous. Intestine extending almost to tail terminus. Serpentine canals present.
Lip region more flattened at the sides than in the female. Spicules arcuate with ventral flanges; distal ends pointed with small apical notches. Gubernaculum well developed. Bursa enveloping tail.
DistributionTop of page B. longicaudatus is a major pest in southeastern USA and is widespread throughout the Atlantic coastal plain from Virginia to Florida. Outlier populations have been reported from Mexico and Central America. Reports from Bermuda, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico apparently refer to golf courses where infected turf was imported from the USA (Perry and Rhoades, 1982). Early reports of B. gracilis from southern USA almost certainly refer to B. longicaudatus.
Distribution TableTop of page
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.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page The main phytosanitary risk is probably via infected sods of turf exported for golf course establishment.
HabitatTop of page B. longicaudatus is found in deep sandy soils where it is an ectoparasite of plant roots. In Virginia, USA, the sand content of infested soils ranged from 84 to 94% (Miller, 1972). The nematode is mainly confined to the top 30 cm of soil but may migrate vertically in response to temperature.
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page B. longicaudatus has a wide host range including many grasses, crops and woody hosts. Differences in host range are reported between populations from various states in the USA (Smart and Nguyen, 1991).
Growth StagesTop of page Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page B. longicaudatus feeds ectoparasitically near the root tip and along the root resulting in a reduced root system with stubby side branches and terminal galling. Dark lesions may appear on the outer root surface at the point of penetration. Above-ground symptoms include severe stunting, wilting in dry conditions, leaf chlorosis and, in severe cases, death of the plant.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Roots / galls at tip|
|Roots / reduced root system|
|Roots / stubby roots|
|Whole plant / dwarfing|
Biology and EcologyTop of page B. longicaudatus is a migratory ectoparasite of plant roots. There are three juvenile stages in the soil; the first moult occurs within the egg. The life cycle takes about 28 days and the species is amphimictic. Although an ectoparasite, the exceptionally long spear allows the nematode to feed deep within the root tissue, causing severe damage to the host. The optimum temperature for reproduction is around 30ºC, but the nematode remains active and feeds at up to 39ºC. Light sandy soils are favoured and the nematode is absent in muck or marl soils.
The existence of physiological races has been demonstrated and these have differing host ranges (Smart and Nguyen, 1991). The presence of the nematode may overcome resistance to Fusarium wilt [Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum] in cotton leading to high crop losses in the field.
Natural enemiesTop of page
Seedborne AspectsTop of page B. longicaudatus is not seedborne.
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|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)|
ImpactTop of page B. longicaudatus can cause devastating losses to cotton, particularly when it occurs in association with Fusarium wilt [Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum]. It also causes severe losses to other crops including groundnut, soyabean, Phaseolus vulgaris, beet, crucifers, celery, okra, onion, pea, pepper, potato and maize and to forage and turf grasses, the latter being economically important in amenity grassland such as golf courses.
Detection and InspectionTop of page B. longicaudatus may be extracted from soil and turf using standard techniques. Because it is a relatively long nematode, centrifugation or immersion sieving methods should enhance recovery rates.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page B. longicaudatus is superficially similar to other species of the genus and also to members of the genus Dolichodorus. It can be best distinguished from the other species of Belonolaimus by having only one incisure in the lateral field and by the length of the spear (>100 µm long). A key to species is provided by Smart and Nguyen (1991).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
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.
Chemical treatment of soil using liquid or granular nematicides is usually highly effective due to the porous nature of the sandy soils that the nematode favours.
Various non-hosts have been used as cover crops or in rotation to reduce populations of the nematode (Smart and Nguyen, 1991) and organic soil amendments may also have a beneficial effect. Soil solarization has also been tested in strawberry fields (Overman et al., 1987).
Biological control has been attempted: Pasteuria penetrans suppressed B. longicaudatus populations after 1 year (Giblin-Davis, 1990).
ReferencesTop of page
Christie JR, 1959. Plant Nematodes. Their Bionomics and Control. Gainesville, Florida: Agricultural Experimental Station, University of Florida.
Giblin-Davis RM, 1990. Potential for biological control of phytoparasitic nematodes in Bermudagrass turf with isolates of the Pasteuria penetrans group. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 103:349-351
Graham TW, 1952. Nematodes as ectoparasites on tobacco, cotton and other plants. Phytopathology, 42:9.
Holdeman QL, 1955. The present known distribution of the sting nematode, Belonolaimus gracilis, in the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. Plant Disease Reporter, 39:5-8.
Hutchinson MT; Reed JB, 1956. The sting nematode, Belonolaimus gracilis, found in New Jersey. Plant Disease Reporter, 40:1049.
Kepenekci I, 2001. Taxonomic investigations on the species of Tylenchida (Nematoda) in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) fields in Marmara Region. (Marmara Bölgesi'nde ayçiçegi (Helianthus annuus L.) ekilis alanlarInda saptanan Tylenchida (Nematoda) türleri üzerinde taksonomik arastIrmalar.) Bitki Koruma Bülteni, 41(3/4):101-134.
Miller LI, 1972. The influence of soil texture on the survival of Belonolaimus longicaudatus. Phytopathology, 62:670-671.
Owens JV, 1950. Sting nematode found hostile toward Virginia peanuts. Peanut J. Nut World, 30:31.
Owens JV, 1951. The pathological effects of Belonolaimus gracilis on peanuts in Virginia. Phytopathology, 41:29.
Perry VG; Rhoades HL, 1982. The genus Belonolaimus. In: Riggs RD, ed. Nematology in the Southern Region of the United States. Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin 276. Fayetville, USA: Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Arkansas, 144-149.
Rau GJ, 1958. A new species of sting nematode. Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington, 25:95-98.
Rau GJ, 1961. Amended description of Belonolaimus gracilis Steiner, 1949 and B. longicaudatus Rau, 1958 (Nematoda: Tylenchida). Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington, 28:198-200.
Rau GJ, 1963. Three new species of Belonolaimus (Nematoda: Tylenchida) with additional data on B. longicaudatus and B. gracilis. Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington, 30:119-128.
Riggs RD, 1961. Sting nematodes in Arkansas. Plant Disease Reporter, 45:392.
Russell CC; Sturgeon RV, 1969. Occurrence of Belonolaimus longicaudatus and Ditylenchus dipsaci in Oklahoma. Phytopathology, 59:118.
Thorne G, 1961. Principles of Nematology. London, UK: McGraw Hill.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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