Heteroderidae

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Heterodera carotae, white females on root
Author(s): Christopher Hogger, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture
Source: IPM Images

Heteroderidae - (cyst nematodes)

The females develop into cysts with a thick skin. These may be spherical, pear-shaped or lemon-shaped and become filled with eggs which hatch over a period of many years. Hatching is often initiated by root exudates. The family includes important plant pathogens and because of their persistent nature require long-term disruption of the cropping pattern.

The family is related to the Meloidogynidae and both families have been treated previously as subfamilies. The main differences to the root-knot nematodes are:

  • the feeding site is a multinucleate syncytium where root cells fuse through the dissolving cell walls (not a giant cell),
  • females become a hardened cyst,
  • sexual not parthenogenic reproduction,
  • species have a narrow host range,
  • larval stylet 20-30 µm long and strongly sclerotized.


The following genera are currently entered under Heteroderidae: