Influence of Alfalfa Plant Growth on the Multiplication Rates and Ceiling Population Density of Meloidogyne hapla

J. W. Noling, H. Ferris


The rates of reproduction and multiplication of Meloidogyne hapla decreased as a result of self-regulatory, density-dependent processes with time and nematode population increase in the soil and roots of Medicago sativa cv. Cuf 101. Juvenile, egg, and mature female population densities increased at a maximum rate until damage to the host resulted in alfalfa yield reductions. Temporal differences in multiplication and reproduction rates of M. hapla were observed to be a function of initial population density (Pi), host damage, and root biomass, indicating increased levels of competition for a constant but limited number of feeding sites. Over time, a log linear relationship emerged between multiplication rate of M. hapla and Pi. Slopes of -0.90953 for combined eggs and juveniles and -0.71349 for mature females indicated a gradual approach to ceiling densities. Reproductive rates decreased exponentially from an initial maximal value of 200 to a relatively constant rate of 53 eggs per female. Key words: density dependence, intraspecific competition, reproduction, population dynamics, root-knot nematode, Medicago sativa.

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