Agamermis (Nematoda: Mermithidae) Infection in South Carolina Agricultural Pests

Francesca L. Stubbins, Paula Agudelo, Francis P. F. Reay-Jones, Jeremy K. Greene

Abstract


Native and invasive stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and the closely related invasive Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae) are agricultural pests in the southeastern United States. Natural enemies, from various phyla, parasitize these pests and contribute to population regulation. We specifically investigated Nematoda infections in pentatomid and plataspid pests in one soybean field in South Carolina in 2015. Nematodes were identified through molecular and morphological methods and assigned to family Mermithidae, genus Agamermis. This study reports mermithid nematode infection in immature M. cribraria for the first time and provides the first mermithid host record for the stink bugs Chinavia hilaris, Euschistus servus, and another Euschistus species, and a grasshopper (Orthoptera: Acrididae) in South Carolina. The same Agamermis species infected all hosts. The broad host range and prevalence suggests that Agamermis may be an important contributor to natural mortality of pentatomid and plataspid pests. Previous mermithid host records for the Pentatomidae and Plataspidae worldwide are summarized. Further work is needed to assess the impact of infection on populations over a broader range of agricultural fields and geographic localities.

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