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A survey of entomopathogenic nematode species in continental Portugal

  • V. Valadas (a1), M. Laranjo (a2) (a3), M. Mota (a1) and S. Oliveira (a2)


Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) are lethal parasites of insects, used as biocontrol agents. The objectives of this work were to survey the presence of EPN in continental Portugal and to characterize the different species. Of the 791 soil samples collected throughout continental Portugal, 53 were positive for EPN. Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora were the two most abundant species. Analysis of EPN geographical distribution revealed an association between nematode species and vegetation type. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora was mostly found in the Alentejo region while S. feltiae was present in land occupied by agriculture with natural vegetation, broadleaved forest, mixed forest and transitional woodland-shrub, agro-forestry areas, complex cultivated patterns and non-irrigated arable land. Although no clear association was found between species and soil type, S. feltiae was typically recovered from cambisols and H. bacteriophora was more abundant in lithosols. Sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region indicated that S. feltiae was the most abundant species, followed by H. bacteriophora. Steinernema intermedium and S. kraussei were each isolated from one site and Steinernema sp. from two sites. Phylogenetic analyses of ITS, D2D3 expansion region of the 28S rRNA gene, as well as mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COXI) and cytochrome b (cytb) genes, was performed to evaluate the genetic diversity of S. feltiae and H. bacteriophora. No significant genetic diversity was found among H. bacteriophora isolates. However, COXI seems to be the best marker to study genetic diversity of S. feltiae. This survey contributes to the understanding of EPN distribution in Europe.


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A survey of entomopathogenic nematode species in continental Portugal

  • V. Valadas (a1), M. Laranjo (a2) (a3), M. Mota (a1) and S. Oliveira (a2)


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