Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 September 2019
Pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, a pine parasitic nematode, poses a serious threat to its host pine forests globally. When dispersal-stage larvae 4 (dauer, DL4) of B. xylophilus enters the new pine, it moults into propagative adult (dauer recovery) and reproduces quickly to kill the host pine. Here, we found pine chemical volatiles, rather than the common dauer recovery factors of nematodes (e.g. suitable temperatures, nutrient availability or density), promote B. xylophilus dauer recovery. The results showed that volatilization of chemicals in host pines could attract DL4 and promote DL4 recovery. To identify which chemicals promote this process, we determined the stimulated activity of the main volatiles of pines including six monoterpenes and two sesquiterpenes. Results showed that all the six monoterpenes promoted dauer recovery, especially β-pinene and β-myrcene, but the two sesquiterpenes have no effect on the transformation. Furthermore, β-pinene performed gradient effects on dauer recovery. We hypothesized that when DL4 infect pine trees, the pine volatiles released from the feeding wounds are used as chemical signals for DL4 transformation to adult to reproduce and rapidly kill the pines. Our study identified the B. xylophilus dauer recovery chemical signal and may contribute to preventing pine wilt disease.