A Semiquantitative Method for Enumerating and Observing Parasites and Predators of Soil Nematodes

R. Mankau


A laboratory method was developed to count and observe antagonists of soil nematodes and simulate their relationships in the soil. A 10- to 25-cc soil sample is suspended in water and washed through a series of small standard sieves. Residues are washed into a small beaker and collected on a 24-mm filter paper disk in a filter holder under vacuum. The disk is placed on corn meal agar in a petri dish. Microfauna and flora present in the sample colonize the organic matter on the disk and move onto and into the agar where they can be observed easily. Distinct successions of organisms usually occur and within 6-18 days or more, parasites and predators of nematodes are often abundant, especially nematode-trapping fungi. Counting predation events and parasitized nematodes in replicate dishes after specific incubation periods allows quantitative comparisons between soil samples. The method has distinct advantages over others for enumerating organisms which attack nematodes. Key Words: microflora, microfauna interrelationships, technique, predacious fungi, Arthrobotrvs conoides, A. dactyloides, Monacrosporium gephyropagum.

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