Meloidogyne (genus)

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Larva of root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, shown here penetrating a tomato root.
Authors: William Wergin and Richard Sayre, colorized by Stephen Ausmus
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Meloidogyne Goldi, 1877 - (root nematodes)

The genus represents a large number of species including severeal very important crop pests like M. incognita or M. javanica. Females lay eggs in a protective gelatinous matrix on the root surface. The eggs can survive for at least a year. The juveniles are already in the 2nd stage (J2) when they emerge from the eggs.

Juveniles penetrate the young roots with the help of their stylets and migrate intercellularly within the root. The development involves two additional juvenile stages before the adult stage. The mature males are released outside the root.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Wurzelgallenälchen
Wurzelgallennematoden
• English: root knot nematodes
• Español: nematodo de las raices
• Français: anguillule des racines
nématodes à galle des racines

The females establish a permanent feeding site and stimulate certain root cells to grow and become multinucleate "giant cells" with the surrounding tissue forming a gall or root-knot. They feed on these giant cells and become nearly spherical. Infested plants become stunted and the leaves turn yellow.


The following species have been currently entered into the system: