Chemical Communicators in Nematodes

R. N. Huettel


Chemical signals released by one organism and perceived by another organism are classified as semiochemicals. Semiochemicals are divided into pheromones, which elicit intraspecific responses, and allelochemics, which elicit interspecific responses. Nematodes utilize and (or) recognize signals from both categories of semiochemicals. The existence of pheromones, specifically sex and aggregation pheromones, has been demonstrated in numerous plant and animal parasitic and free-living nematodes. Sex pheromones have been isolated and purified from Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and Heterodera glycines, and epidietic pheromones have been shown to be responsible for initiation of dauer juvenile formation in Caenorhabditis elegans. Allelochemics cause interspecific responses in insects and other invertebrates but are only postulated to occur in nematodes. Food-finding behavior of nematodes is almost certainly caused by host-released allelochemic messengers. Understanding of the behavioral responses and the chemical messengers that affect bioregulation of various processes in nematodes will influence future management strategies. Key words: allelochemics, allomones, behavior, nematodes, pheromones, semiochemicals, synomones.

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