Predaceous Behavior and Life History of Odontopharynx longicaudata (Diplogasterida)

J. J. Chitambar, E. Mae Noffsinger


The behavior of a California isolate of the predaceous nematode, Odontopharynx longicaudata de Man, was studied in water agar culture. When feeding on an Acrobeloides sp. the predator completed its life cycle in 13 to 14 days at 25 C. Optimum temperature for reproduction of the predator was 25 C, few individuals survived at 10 C, and 30 C was lethal. Males were necessary for reproduction, and at 25 C the sex ratio was about 1:1. All postembryonic stages were voracious feeders. A single female predator consumed 30 individuals of another Acrobeloides sp. in 1.5 days. Juveniles must feed in order to complete their development. Three modes of feeding were observed depending on the prey selected. A high degree of prey selectivity occurred; 6 of 17 nematode prey species were readily consumed by the predator, but there was little or no feeding on the remaining 11 species. Predation percentage varied with prey species. Consumption of Anguina pacificae and the two Acrobeloides spp. was almost 100%, consumption of A. amsinckiae, Pratylenchus vulnus, and Trichodorus sp. was 70-78%. Difference in final predator population densities was obtained after feeding on the two species of Acrobeloides. Final predator population densities increased linearly with increasing inoculum levels of the first Acrobeloides sp. Key words: Acrobeloides, Diplogasterida, life history, Odontopharynx longicaudata, predator, prey selectivity, reproduction, temperature.

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