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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT FOR KEY PESTS OF PECAN AND PEACH

Location: Fruit and Nut Research

Title: Magnetic and electric fields induce directional response in Steinernema carpocapsae

Authors
item Ilan, Teva -
item Kim-Shapiro, Daniel -
item Bock, Clive
item Shapiro Ilan, David

Submitted to: International Journal for Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2013
Publication Date: August 22, 2013
Citation: Ilan, T., Kim-Shapiro, D., Bock, C.H., Shapiro Ilan, D.I. 2013. Magnetic and electric fields induce directional response in Steinernema carpocapsae. International Journal for Parasitology. 43:781-784.

Interpretive Summary: Beneficial nematodes (also known as entomopathogenic nematodes) are small round worms that are used as environmentally friendly biopesticides. It is important to understand how these tiny nematodes can navigate through the vast ocean of soil to find insect pests to attack. We know that nematodes can respond directionally to various cues including electrical stimuli. For example, in prior research a nematode called Steinernema carpocapsae was shown to be attracted to an electrical current that was applied to an agar dish. Therefore, we hypothesized that these nematodes may use electromagnetic reception to assist in navigating through the soil and finding insect pests. In this study we discovered that the nematode also responds to electrical fields (without current) and to magnetic fields; to our knowledge this is the first report of nematode directional movement in response to a magnetic field. Our research expands on the range of known stimuli that beneficial nematodes respond to. The findings have implications for understanding nematode foraging behavior and improving natural pest control tactics.

Technical Abstract: Entomopathogenic nematode species respond directionally to various cues including electrical stimuli. For example, in prior research Steinernema carpocapsae was shown to be attracted to an electrical current that was applied to an agar dish. Thus, we hypothesized that these nematodes may use electromagnetic reception to assist in navigating through the soil and finding a host. In this study we discovered that S. carpocapsae also responds to electrical fields (without current) and to magnetic fields; to our knowledge this is the first report of nematode directional movement in response to a magnetic field. Our research expands on the range of known stimuli that entomopathogenic nematodes respond to. The findings may have implications for foraging behavior.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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