Schistonchus africanus n. sp. (Aphelenchida: Aphelenchoididae) Associated with Ficus thonningii (Moraceae) and its Pollinator Wasp Elisabethiella stuckenbergi (Chalcidoidea: Agaonidae)

N. Vovlas, A. Troccoli, S. Van Noort, E. van den Berg


Syconia ("figs") from Ficus thonningii and adults of its pollinator wasp Elisabethiella stuckenbergi were dissected to elucidate their association with a new species of Schistonchus (Aphelenchoididae). Schistonchus africanus n. sp. is characterized by a short stylet (13-16 [mu]m long); position of the excretory pore opening in both sexes at a level just behind the stylet knobs; and short post-uterine branch, one body-width long. Schistonchus africanus n. sp. parasitizes F. thonningii florets and is transported by the winged females of E. stuckenbergi. Juveniles, females, and males of the nematode were found in the female and male fig florets and in the abdomen of the vector. Nematode populations extracted from female wasps or fig floret tissues did not differ in their morphology. No association was observed with the wingless males of the pollinator wasp. Key words: Agaonidae, Aphelenchoididae, Elisabethiella stuckenbergi, Ficus thonningii, fig, life history, nematode, Schistonchus africanus n. sp., South Africa.

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