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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Carta, Lynn
item Osbrink, Weste

Submitted to: Nematology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/12/2005
Publication Date: 11/1/2005
Citation: Carta, L.K., Osbrink, W.L. 2005. Rhabditis rainai n. sp.(nematoda: rhabditida) associated with the formosan subterranean termite, coptotermes formosanus (isoptera: rhinotermitidae). Nematology. 7(6):863-879.

Interpretive Summary: The Formosan subterranean termite is an invasive insect pest causing almost 2 billion dollars in damage and treatment costs per year in several southern states in the United States. This termite destroys both wooden structures as well as live trees. A major problem for homeowners is the lack of environmentally safe termite control practices. We discovered within the gut of sick termites a beneficial microscopic roundworm known as a nematode that is also easy to grow on friendly bacteria. Therefore, we described this beneficial nematode with measurements, drawings and photographs using a light microscope and higher-powered scanning electron microscope. We discovered it was a new species and even a new subgenus, a higher category of classification used to name living things. The nematode has a very unusual structure in its intestine, and these females with eggs and sperm can produce young without males. The results are significant because this nematode could be exploited as a possible biological control agent for termites that does not require an insect or complex food to grow. This information can be used by other researchers studying the control of termites and biology of beneficial soil nematodes.

Technical Abstract: Nematodes were discovered in the gut of sick Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus) in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. Rhabditis (Prerecditis) rainai is described as a new subgenus and species of hermaphroditic Rhabditis with a unique prerectum, four denticles at the base of the stoma, male spicules with rounded tips and flattened ventral hook-like structure, a retracted seventh male tail ray, and four to seven ridges in the lateral field.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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