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Entomopathogenic nematode host finding: response to host contact cues by cruise and ambush foragers

  • E.E. Lewis (a1), R. Gaugler (a1) and R. Harrison (a1)

Search behaviour of two entomopathogenic nematode species with different foraging strategies was compared by measuring parameters of unrewarded search after contact with host cues. Steinernema glaseri cruises in search of hosts. Steinernema carpocapsae ambushes hosts. Nematodes should respond to contact with relevant host cues by shifting their search from ranging to localized after contact with them. We predicted that cruising foragers rely on chemical cues more heavily than ambushers. These species were also tested for host affinities. Nematodes were tracked by image analysis after exposure to faeces, cuticle or food of either Popillia japonica or Spodoptera exiqua. Steinernema glaseri responded to selected host cues by shifting from ranging to localized search, characterized by decreased locomotory rate, distance travelled, search area and the proportion of the test period spent moving. Steinernema carpocapsae did not respond to host cues. Steinernema glaseri responds to selected chemical host cues for host location, whereas S. carpocapsae does not.

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