Pratylenchus coffeae

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Pratylenchus coffeae (click on image to enlarge it)
Author: USDA ARS
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pratylenchus coffeae (Zimmermann, 1898)

This root lesion nematode is found in tropical and subtropical regions. It can spread with planting material, explaining its world-wide distribution. The nematode infests a large variety of crops such as coffee, banana, sugarcane and many others. It is often found together with other plant-parasitic nematodes like Radopholus similis.

P. coffeae is a migratory endoparasite and all stages feed on roots or the corm of bananas. The cells of the root cortex are punctured and the nematode injects saliva to help the extraction of the cell content. The damage results in elongated, reddish-brown to black root lesions and breaking of the roots. In the adult stage, egg production lasts for around 3-4 weeks.

In West Africa, a population has been found to be particularly damaging to banana. This population was subsequently described as a separate species, Pratylenchus speijeri De Luca et al., 2012. Both species are very similar morphologically, but can be separated by their rRNA structure.