Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita is not the only slug killing nematode


Abstract: Actually (August 2019) there are thirteen described species belonging to the genus Phasmarhabditis. All of them are worldwide distributed soil-dwelling, facultative parasites of slugs and snails that parasitize in a great variety of molluscs, e. g. Limacidae, Agriolimacidae, Arionidae, Milacidae, Vaginulidae, Helicidae etc. But the only species that has been developed as a commercial product for slug management is P. hermaphrodita under the trade name of Nemaslug®. Within this study we tested the effect of three other Phasmarhabditis species on mortality of target and non-target molluscs, influence on feeding activity, the ability to grow on different organic substrates and the ability to grow on solid and in liquid medium. In our research we aimed to show that also other species (P. bohemica, P. bonaquaense and P. apuliae) isolated in the Czech Republic and Italy from the cadavers of Deroceras reticulatum, Malacolimax tenellus and Milax gagates or M. sowerbyi, respectively are very effective agents capable of infecting and killing grey garden slugs or decreasing feeding activity of the hosts even when applied as natural polyxenic cultures. These promising preliminary results open the way for subsequent research targeting monoxenization and mass cultivation of these slug parasitic nematodes.

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