Worldwide Dissemination of Radopholus similis and Its Importance in Crop Production

J. H. O'Bannon


The burrowing nematode, Radopholus similis, attacks agronomic and horticultural crops and many weeds, and is reported to reproduce on more than 250 plant species. Two races of R. similis are recognized. Although one race attacks citrus and the other race does not, they are morphologically similar. At present, the citrus race is found attacking citrus only in Florida, U.S.A., but it is known to infect more than 250 species and varieties of noncitrus plants. Although it has many hosts, R. similis is probably most widely distributed on banana and is found worldwide. Although best known as a pest of Piper nigrum, Musa spp., and Citrus spp., it also attacks many crops that are important in world commerce and in subsistence-type agriculture, a factor which makes it a significant agricultural pest. Worldwide dissemination occurs primarily when parasitized plants are moved into areas where the pest could adapt. Yield losses of 12.5 tons/ha in bananas have been reported from R. similis infection. Infections suppress orange and grapefruit yields as much as 70-80%. Because of the severity of R. similis damage (particularly to banana and citrus), extensive control programs have been developed. Prevention, cultural practices, resistant varieties, and chemical pesticides interact to reduce losses. Key Words: citrus, control, banana.

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