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Parasitology. 1996 Nov;113 ( Pt 5):473-82.

Entomopathogenic nematode (Heterorhabditidae and Steinernematidae) spatial distribution in turfgrass.

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Department of Entomology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, USA.


Understanding the temporal and spatial distribution of entomopathogenic nematodes is essential for determining the role of these insect parasites in soil communities and ultimately for their use in suppression of pest insect populations. We measured the vertical and horizontal distribution of endemic populations of entomopathogenic nematodes (Steinernema carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora) in turfgrass. Vertical distribution was determined by taking soil cores every 3 h from 05.00 to 23.00 h, over 4 days, and dividing the cores into 8, 1 cm deep sections. Steinernema carpocapsae was recovered primarily near the soil surface: 50% of positive sections were recovered in the thatch or first 1 cm of soil. S. carpocapsae recovery was lower during the middle of the day and none were recovered in the upper section. H. bacteriophora was recovered uniformly throughout the top 8 cm of soil and its vertical distribution did not change over the course of the day. Horizontal distribution was measured as the number of nematodes recovered from cores taken from 12 randomly selected 0.3 x 0.8 m sections from within four 15.3 x 15.3 m plots. Samples were collected biweekly over a 9-month period. H. bacteriophora had a patchier distribution than S. carpocapsae and both nematode species had more patchy distributions then their potential hosts. Our results support the hypothesis that these two species of nematode utilize different foraging strategies; S. carpocapsae primarily a surface adapted ambusher and H. bacteriophora as a cruise forager.

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