Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Plant nematodes cause serious losses in food, fiber and other plants on a world wide basis. U.S. Agriculture has a loss of seven billion dollars each year. Nematodes constitute one of the largest and most important groups of the animal kingdom, parasitizing both plants and animals and surviving in diverse habitats. Accurate identification of the species or kinds of nematodes involved is of critical importance in all phases of nematology, including research, control and regulatory activities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Nematode Collection is an invaluable resource in providing the correct identity of the forms involved. It is a very large, well organized and properly curated collection which provides material for study by U.S. and foreign scientists to advance our knowledge of the numbers and kinds of nematodes which actually exist and clarify their relationships, a worldwide repository for nematodes, and a source of data on nematode hosts, origin, occurrence and distribution. The collection gives a solid foundation for many scientists, growers, action agencies and extension agents involved in nematode research and control.
A detailed historical background of the United States Department of Agriculture Nematode Collection along with its constituent divisions is given. This Collection is one of the largest and most valuable in existence and consists of over 33,500 permanent slides and vials, 19,000 species including 1,500 type species, the Gerald Thorne, Cobb and Steiner Nematode Collections with many original types, and data on all nematodes and samples in the Collection. Also, the importance of service identifications and some of the selected achievements and publications of the nematode taxonomy program of the USDA Nematology Laboratory at Beltsville, Maryland is given. This Collection preserves the type specimens of nematodes to serve as a reference for identifications and further knowledge or revision of the earlier described material, and as a basic evidence for stability of names as per the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Also, the Collection provides useful information on nematode hosts, occurrence and distribution.