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: