Submitted to: Nematology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/17/2000
Publication Date: 12/1/2000
Citation: Marti, Jr., O.G., Lalanne-Cassou, B., Silvain, J., Kermarrec, A., Simmons, A.M. 2000. Ectoparasitic nematodes (Alphelenchoidoidea: Acugutturidae) of Lepidoptera and Blattodea in Guadeloupe. Nematology. 2(6):669-684. Interpretive Summary: Moths from the island of Guadeloupe in the West Indies were collected and examined in two surveys in 1985-86 and 1996 for the presence of Noctuidonema, a parasite that lives on the body surface and harms moths by sucking their blood. One purpose was to determine which moth species were infested with the parasite. A second purpose was to determine whether similar numbers of infested moths occurred in areas that differed in amount of rainfall, altitude, and type of plant cover. The caterpillars of some of these moth species are pests of agricultural crops in Guadeloupe, the United States, and other countries. Many of them have the ability to fly from the tropics to other regions, including the the United States, and produce damage to agricultural crops and pasture grasses. Knowledge gained about the parasites of the moths and the seasons and areas in which they occur may provide biological information of value in controlling the pest species. More infested moths were collected from dry areas with low altitude than from rainy areas with higher altitude, and more were collected during the dry season of the year than during the rainy season. As a result of this work, a total 69 moth species are now known to be infected with the parastie. We also reported the discovery for the first time of Noctuidonema from Asia. A related parasite, Acugutturus, occurs on the American cockroach in Guadeloupe. It was previously known only from the island of Sainte Lucia in the West Indies. It is a potentially useful biological control agent against cockroaches.
Technical Abstract: A total of 935 moths were collected during 2 surveys (1985-86 and 1996) in Guadeloupe and examined for the presence of ectoparasitic nematodes (Noctuidonema). Nematodes were found on 24 of 84 species of Noctuidae, 2 of 4 species of Sphingidae, and 1 of 10 species of Geometridae. New host records are reported for 19 species of Lepidoptera in Guadeloupe and 1 in the U.S. Noctuidonema occurred more frequently on the Noctuidae than on other families of Lepidoptera. More infested moths, particularly males, were collected from dry habitats than from moist habitats, and more were collected during the dry season than during the rainy season. A total of 94 cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) were collected in 1996-97 from French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Mexico, and Ste. Lucia, and were examined for the presence of Acugutturus parasiticus, an ectoparasite of that species. Acugutturus was found on cockroaches from Ste. Lucia and Guadeloupe, but not from French Guiana or Mexico. The host list of Insecta (Lepidoptera and Blattodea) parasitized by ectoparatitic nematodes is emended and updated. At present, 69 species of Lepidoptera in 43 genera, 12 sub-families, and 6 families are known as hosts. With the single exception of Spodoptera litura from east Java, all Lepidoptera species reported as hosts of ectoparasitic nematodes occur in the Americas or the Fiji islands. No systematic search has ever been conducted for ectoparasitic nematodes on Lepidoptera in tropical Africa or Asia. The importance of these nematodes in the ecology of Lepidoptera and Blattodea is largely unknown.