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Attraction behaviour of three entomopathogenic nematode species towards infected and uninfected hosts

  • O. RAMOS-RODRÍGUEZ (a1), J. F. CAMPBELL (a2), J. M. CHRISTEN (a1), D. I. SHAPIRO-ILAN (a3), E. E. LEWIS (a4) and S. B. RAMASWAMY (a1)...


Entomopathogenic nematode infective juveniles are likely to encounter both uninfected and infected insects and host quality depends on the stage of the infection. We hypothesized that nematode response to infected hosts will change over the course of an infection. Here, we tested this hypothesis by focusing on the influence of host infection status on long-range attraction to host volatile cues. The attraction response of 3 nematode species (Steinernema carpocapsae, S. glaseri and S. riobrave) with different foraging strategies to infected and uninfected insects (Galleria mellonella and Tenebrio molitor) was tested at 24 h intervals from start of infection to emergence of infective juveniles from depleted host. As expected, based on their foraging strategies, S. carpocapsae was not very responsive to hosts, S. glaseri was highly responsive and S. riobrave was intermediate. Generally, the level of attraction did not change with time after infection and was similar between infected and uninfected hosts. An exception was S. glaseri infected T. molitor, which tended to be less attractive to S. glaseri than uninfected hosts. These results suggest that any influence of host infection status on infection behaviour is occurring at subsequent steps in the host-infection process than host attraction, or involves non-volatile cues.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: USDA ARS GMPRC, 1515 College Ave, Manhattan, KS 66502, USA. Tel: +785 776 2717. Fax: +785 537 5584. E-mail:


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