Pratylenchus penetrans

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

Pratylenchus penetrans (Cobb, 1917) - (northern lesion nematode)

The nematode is wide-spread, particularly in temperate regions and sandy soils. It has a very wide host range which includes most types of crops, from root (potatoes, carrots) and bulb crops (onions, ornamentals), over fruit trees (apple, cherry) and berries (strawberry, raspberry) to cereals (maize, wheat), to give some examples. The main symptoms are necrotic lesions on the roots, tubers and bulbs. Above ground symptoms depend on the host and may include chlorosis, stunting or die-back. Yield losses can reach 50%.

Juveniles and adults of both sexes remain mobile throughout their lives and attack roots (predominantly the elongation zone), tubers and bulbs. They pierce the cell wall of the root cells with their stylet and feed on the cell content. Roots, tubers and bulbs develop necrotic lesions and cavities due to the combined attack of many nematodes. The cavities are often filled with thousands of individual nematodes. The feeding damage also provides entry points for other plant pathogens like fungi (e.g. Verticiliiunm dahliae on potatoes) and bacteria.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Wiesennematode
• English: northern lesion nematode
• Español: nematodo de los prados
• Français: nématode des lésions de racines
nématode des prairies

The adult is approximately 400-600 µm long with females slightly longer than males. Eggs are laid on the roots or into the soil and the total development time from egg to adult lasts 1-2 months, depending on the temperature. Eggs and nematodes disperse through irrigation water. Due to the large host range, the nematodes persist in the environment and management is difficult. Control options include nematicides, hot water treatment of bulbs and crop rotation.