Description of a Unique, Complex Feeding Socket Caused by the Putative Primitive Root-Knot Nematode, Meloidogyne kikuyensis

J. D. Eisenback, D. J. Dodge

Abstract


Meloidogyne kikuyensis produces unique galls that form on one side of the root resembling nitrogen-fixing nodules that are produced on legumes in response to infection by Rhizobium and related bacteria. The gall caused by this root-knot nematode is made up of a complex feeding socket composed of several giant cells that are ramified with xylem vessels extending perpendicular from the vascular cylinder. The anterior portion of the second-stage juvenile, which develops into an adult, plugs into this unique feeding socket. The socket and the surrounding parenchyma together form a gall that is very different in morphology from those typically caused by other species of root-knot nematodes. Even though M. kikuyensis was considered to be a primitive species because of its low chromosome count, the complexity of its feeding site and minor plant damage suggests a more derived systematic position.

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