Occurrence of Belonolaimus in Sinaloa, Northwestern Mexico: A New Report on Distribution and Host Range

Manuel Mundo-Ocampo, J. G. Baldwin, T. J. Pereira, J. R. Camacho-Baez, A. D. Armenta- Bojorquez, M. Camacho-Haro, J. O. Becker


The present study reports the occurrence of the genus Belonolaimus in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, associated with native plants (i.e., Ziziphus amole and Stenocereus alamosensis) in a natural coastal ecosystem. Both morphological and molecular approaches were employed to characterize the Sinaloa population. Notwithstanding of some morphological and morphometric variation between Belonolaimus from Sinaloa and other valid species, the characterization indicates that this population might belong to the Belonolaimus longicaudatus species complex. Molecular analyses based on the 28S gene and ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 regions of the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) identified four major clades within Belonolaimus; however, none of the species including B. longicaudatus, B. gracilis, and B. euthychilus were supported as monophyletic; yet monophyly is argued to be a basic requirement of species status. Sequence divergence among different Belonolaimus populations and species varied according to the rRNA dataset (i.e., ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 . 28S . 18S) used, thus showing the importance of using genes with different rates of evolution to estimate species relationships. The fact that Belonolaimus has not been found in other cultivated (including on suitable hosts) areas in Sinaloa and that this population is relatively distant from the common B. longicaudatus groups (i.e., clades A and B) suggests that its appearance was not due to a recent introduction associated with the local agriculture.

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