Special Issue "Plant Parasitic Nematodes"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Protection and Biotic Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Carla Maleita
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Chemical Process Engineering and Forest Products Research Centre, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Coimbra, Rua Sílvio Lima, Pólo II, Pinhal de Marrocos, 3030-790 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: morphological, biochemical and molecular characterisation of plant-parasitic nematodes (PPN); natural compounds from agricultural residues to be used in the management of emerging and concomitant PPN; bionematicide; evaluation of the ecotoxicological effects of bionematicides in plants and soil invertebrates, including non-target soil nematode communities; assessment of the effects of phytocompounds in PPN life cycle and genes expression profiles; characterization of the molecular mechanisms involved in plant-nematode interaction; assessment of the pathogenicity of the root knot nematodes
Prof. Dr. Isabel Abrantes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Calçada Martim de Freitas, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: new sustainable and eco-friendly strategies for the management of the economically most important plant-parasitic nematodes (PPN): development of alternative and innovative methodologies to obtain resistant plants; development of formulations based on phytochemicals; selection of genes related with the pathogenicity with potential to be used in the control of those PPN, identification of proteins, secreted by PPN involved in the penetration/ migration of the nematodes in the plant tissues and in the interaction with the host plants with different susceptibility to the infection
Dr. Ivânia Esteves
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Calçada Martim de Freitas, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: biocontrol agents and studies on the nematicidal activity of plant natural extracts as sustainable alternatives to chemical pesticides; development of quick diagnostic tools for the detection and identification of emerging species of plant-parasitic nematodes, molecular characterisation and host studies with root lesion nematodes, Pratylenchus spp.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant parasitic nematodes (PPN) are economically important pests for numerous agriculture and forestry crops, representing a significant constraint on global food security and forestry health. Damage caused by these nematodes has been estimated at $US80 billion/year. However, this value is likely to be underestimated, as PPN are small plant/soil-borne pathogens, the symptoms that they cause are unspecific, and most of the growers are often unaware of their presence.

Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), cyst nematodes (Heterodera and Globodera spp.), root-lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus spp.), the burrowing nematode Radopholus similis, the stem nematode Ditylenchus dipsaci, and the pinewood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus are some examples of PPN ranked at the top in the list of the most economically and scientifically important species.

Current approaches to control these PPN include the use of nematicides and/or unselective pesticides, but many synthetic chemical nematicides pose serious concerns for human health and the environment. To cope with such threat, accurate diagnostic methods for nematode detection and a deep understanding of nematode infection processes as well as of their intricate relationships with the host plants are crucial for the development of effective integrated nematode management programs.

This Special Issue on Plant Parasitic Nematodes aims to publish articles (original research manuscripts and reviews) that focus on diagnostics, detection, and surveillance of PPN associated with economically important agriculture and forestry crops, with a special focus on emergent PPN and quarantine species, improvement/optimization of PPN identification and detection methods, effect of abiotic factors on PPN survival and pathogenicity, identification of risks for PPN dissemination, knowledge of nematode–host interactions at physiological and/or molecular levels, and new sustainable and eco-friendly strategies for PPN management.

Dr. Carla Maleita
Prof. Dr. Isabel Abrantes
Dr. Ivânia Esteves
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Integrative Taxonomy Reveals Hidden Cryptic Diversity within Pin Nematodes of the Genus Paratylenchus (Nematoda: Tylenchulidae)
Plants 2021, 10(7), 1454; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10071454 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 635
Abstract
This study delves into the diagnosis of pin nematodes (Paratylenchus spp.) in Spain based on integrative taxonomical approaches using 24 isolates from diverse natural and cultivated environments. Eighteen species were identified using females, males (when available) and juveniles with detailed morphology-morphometry and [...] Read more.
This study delves into the diagnosis of pin nematodes (Paratylenchus spp.) in Spain based on integrative taxonomical approaches using 24 isolates from diverse natural and cultivated environments. Eighteen species were identified using females, males (when available) and juveniles with detailed morphology-morphometry and molecular markers (D2-D3, ITS and COI). Molecular markers were obtained from the same individuals used for morphological and morphometric analyses. The cryptic diversity using an integrative taxonomical approach of the Paratylenchus straeleni-species complex was studied, consisting of an outstanding example of the cryptic diversity within Paratylenchus and including the description of a new species, Paratylenchus parastraeleni sp. nov. Additionally, 17 already known species were identified comprising P. amundseni, P. aciculus, P. baldaccii, P. enigmaticus, P. goodeyi, P. holdemani, P. macrodorus, P. neoamblycephalus, P. pandatus, P. pedrami, P. recisus, P. sheri, P. tateae, P. variabilis, P. veruculatus, P. verus, and P. vitecus. Eight of these species need to be considered as first reports for Spain in this work (viz. P. amundseni, P. aciculus, P. neoamblycephalus, P. pandatus, P. recisus, P. variabilis, P. verus and P. vitecus). Thirty-nine species of Paratylenchus have been reported in Spain from cultivated and natural ecosystems. Although we are aware that nematological efforts on Paratylenchus species in Southern Spain have been higher than that carried out in central and northern part of the country, the present distribution of the genus in Spain, with about 90% of species (35 out of 39 species, and 24 of them confirmed by integrative taxonomy) only reported in Southern Spain, suggest that this part of the country can be considered as a potential hotspot of biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Article
Pratylenchus vovlasi sp. Nov. (Nematoda: Pratylenchidae) on Raspberries in North Italy with a Morphometrical and Molecular Characterization
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061068 - 26 May 2021
Viewed by 992
Abstract
Root-lesion nematode species rank third only to root-knot and cyst nematodes as having the greatest economic impact on crops worldwide. A survey of plant-parasitic nematodes associated with decaying raspberries (Rubus sp.) in northern Italy revealed that root-lesion nematodes were the most frequently [...] Read more.
Root-lesion nematode species rank third only to root-knot and cyst nematodes as having the greatest economic impact on crops worldwide. A survey of plant-parasitic nematodes associated with decaying raspberries (Rubus sp.) in northern Italy revealed that root-lesion nematodes were the most frequently occurring species among other phytonematodes. Several Pratylenchus species have been associated with Rubus sp. in Canada (Quebec, British Columbia) and USA (North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey) including P. penetrans and P. crenatus. In the roots and rhizosphere of symptomatic raspberries, nematodes of two Pratylenchus spp. were detected. Detailed morphometrics of the two root-lesion nematode isolates were consistent with Pratylenchus crenatus and with an undescribed Pratylenchus species. The extracted nematodes were observed and measured as live and fixed materials and subsequently identified by integrative taxonomy (morphometrically and molecularly). The latter species is described herein as Pratylenchus vovlasi sp. nov., resulting morphometrically closest to P. mediterraneus and phylogenetically to P. pratensis. The molecular identification of Pratylenchus vovlasi sp. nov. was carried out by sequencing the ITS region, D2-D3 expansion domains of the 28S rRNA gene and a partial region of the nuclear hsp90 gene. ITS-RFLP and sequence analyses revealed that Pratylenchus vovlasi sp. nov. had species-specific restriction profiles with no corresponding sequences present in the database. The phylogenetic relationships with ITS and D2-D3 sequences placed the Pratylenchus vovlasi sp. nov. in a clade with P. pratensis and P. pseudopratensis. This research confirms the occurrence of cryptic biodiversity within the genus Pratylenchus as well as the need for an integrative approach to the identification of Pratylenchus species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Article
Pratylenchus penetrans Parasitizing Potato Crops: Morphometric and Genetic Variability of Portuguese Isolates
Plants 2021, 10(3), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030603 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
The root lesion Pratylenchus penetrans is an economically important pest affecting a wide range of plants. The morphometry of five P. penetrans isolates, parasitizing potato roots in Portugal, was compared and variability within and between isolates was observed. Of the 15 characters assessed, [...] Read more.
The root lesion Pratylenchus penetrans is an economically important pest affecting a wide range of plants. The morphometry of five P. penetrans isolates, parasitizing potato roots in Portugal, was compared and variability within and between isolates was observed. Of the 15 characters assessed, vulva position (V%) in females and the stylet length in both females/males showed the lowest coefficient of intra and inter-isolate variability. Moreover, DNA sequencing of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) genomic region and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene was performed, in order to evaluate the intraspecific genetic variability of this species. ITS revealed higher isolate genetic diversity than the COI gene, with 15 and 7 different haplotypes from the 15 ITS and 14 COI sequences, respectively. Intra- and inter-isolate genetic diversity was found considering both genomic regions. The differentiation of these isolates was not related with their geographical origin. In spite of the high intraspecific variability, phylogenetic analyses revealed that both ITS region and COI gene separate P. penetrans from other related species. Our findings contribute to increasing the understanding of P. penetrans variability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Article
Changes in the Plant β-Sitosterol/Stigmasterol Ratio Caused by the Plant Parasitic Nematode Meloidogyne incognita
Plants 2021, 10(2), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020292 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1001
Abstract
Sterols play a key role in various physiological processes of plants. Commonly, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol and campesterol represent the main plant sterols, and cholesterol is often reported as a trace sterol. Changes in plant sterols, especially in β-sitosterol/stigmasterol levels, can be induced by different [...] Read more.
Sterols play a key role in various physiological processes of plants. Commonly, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol and campesterol represent the main plant sterols, and cholesterol is often reported as a trace sterol. Changes in plant sterols, especially in β-sitosterol/stigmasterol levels, can be induced by different biotic and abiotic factors. Plant parasitic nematodes, such as the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita, are devastating pathogens known to circumvent plant defense mechanisms. In this study, we investigated the changes in sterols of agricultural important crops, Brassica juncea (brown mustard), Cucumis sativus (cucumber), Glycine max (soybean), Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) and Zea mays (corn), 21 days post inoculation (dpi) with M. incognita. The main changes affected the β-sitosterol/stigmasterol ratio, with an increase of β-sitosterol and a decrease of stigmasterol in S. lycopersicum, G. max, C. sativus and Z. mays. Furthermore, cholesterol levels increased in tomato, cucumber and corn, while cholesterol levels often were below the detection limit in the respective uninfected plants. To better understand the changes in the β-sitosterol/stigmasterol ratio, gene expression analysis was conducted in tomato cv. Moneymaker for the sterol 22C-desaturase gene CYP710A11, responsible for the conversion of β-sitosterol to stigmasterol. Our results showed that the expression of CYP710A11 was in line with the sterol profile of tomato after M. incognita infection. Since sterols play a key role in plant-pathogen interactions, this finding opens novel insights in plant nematode interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Article
First Detection of Meloidogyne luci (Nematoda: Meloidogynidae) Parasitizing Potato in the Azores, Portugal
Plants 2021, 10(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010099 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1143
Abstract
Potato is the third most important crop in the world after rice and wheat, with a great social and economic importance in Portugal as it is grown throughout the country, including the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. The tropical root-knot nematode (RKN) [...] Read more.
Potato is the third most important crop in the world after rice and wheat, with a great social and economic importance in Portugal as it is grown throughout the country, including the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. The tropical root-knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne luci is a polyphagous species with many of its host plants having economic importance and the ability to survive in temperate regions, which pose a risk to agricultural production. In 2019, M. luci was detected from soil samples collected from the council of Santo António in Pico Island (Azores). Bioassays were carried out to obtain females, egg masses, and second-stage juveniles to characterize this isolate morphologically, biochemically, and molecularly. The observed morphological features and morphometrics showed high similarity and consistency with previous descriptions. Concerning the biochemical characterization, the esterase (EST) phenotype displayed a pattern with three bands similar to the one previously described for M. luci and distinct from M. ethiopica. Regarding the molecular analysis, an 1800 bp region of the mitochondrial DNA between cytochrome oxidase subunit II (COII) and 16S rRNA genes was analyzed and the phylogenetic tree revealed that the isolate grouped with M. luci isolates (99.17%). This is the first report of M. luci parasitizing potato in the Azores islands, contributing additional information on the distribution of this plant-parasitic nematode. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Article
Nematicidal Activity of Essential Oils on a Psychrophilic Panagrolaimus sp. (Nematoda: Panagrolaimidae)
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111588 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 757
Abstract
Essential oils (EOs) have historically been used for centuries in folk medicine, and nowadays they seem to be a promising control strategy against wide spectra of pathogens, diseases, and parasites. Studies on free-living nematodes are scarce. The free-living microbivorous nematode Panagrolaimus sp. was [...] Read more.
Essential oils (EOs) have historically been used for centuries in folk medicine, and nowadays they seem to be a promising control strategy against wide spectra of pathogens, diseases, and parasites. Studies on free-living nematodes are scarce. The free-living microbivorous nematode Panagrolaimus sp. was chosen as the test organism. The nematode possesses extraordinary biological properties, such as resistance to extremely low temperatures and long-term survival under minimal metabolic activity. Fifty EOs from 22 plant families of gymnosperms and angiosperms were tested on Panagrolaimus sp. The aims of this study were to investigate the in vitro impact of EOs on the psychrophilic nematode Panagrolaimus sp. in a direct contact bioassay, to list the activity of EOs based on median lethal concentration (LC50), to determine the composition of the EOs with the best nematicidal activity, and to compare the activity of EOs on Panagrolaimus sp. versus plant parasitic nematodes. The results based on the LC50 values, calculated using Probit analysis, categorized the EOs into three categories: low, moderate and highly active. The members of the laurel family, i.e., Cinnamomum cassia and C. burmannii, exhibited the best nematicidal activity. Aldehydes were generally the major chemical components of the most active EOs and were the chemicals potentially responsible for the nematicidal activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
Article
Bacterial Microbiota Isolated from Cysts of Globodera rostochiensis (Nematoda: Heteroderidae)
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091146 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
The potato cyst nematode (PCN) Globodera rostochiensis is a plant parasite of potato classified into a group of quarantine organisms causing high economic losses worldwide. Due to the long persistence of the parasite in soil, cysts harbor numerous bacteria whose presence can lead [...] Read more.
The potato cyst nematode (PCN) Globodera rostochiensis is a plant parasite of potato classified into a group of quarantine organisms causing high economic losses worldwide. Due to the long persistence of the parasite in soil, cysts harbor numerous bacteria whose presence can lead to cyst death and population decline. The cysts of G. rostochiensis found in two potato fields were used as a source of bacteria. The universal procedure was applied to extract DNA from bacteria which was then sequenced with 16S primers. The aims of the study were to identify bacterial microbiota associated with the PCN populations and to infer their phylogenetic relationships based on the maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogeny of the 16S sequences. In addition, the impact of the most significant climate and edaphic factors on bacterial diversity were evaluated. Regarding the higher taxonomy, our results indicate that the prevalent bacterial classes were Bacilli, Actinobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria. Phylogenetic analyses clustered Brevibacterium frigoritolerans within the family Bacillaceae, confirming its recent reclassification. Long-term climate factors, such as air temperature, insolation hours, humidity and precipitation, as well as the content of soil organic matter, affected the bacterial diversity. The ability of cyst nematodes to persist in soil for a long time qualifies them as a significant natural source to explore the soil bacterial microbiota. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Article
Ficus microcarpa Bonsai “Tiger bark” Parasitized by the Root-Knot Nematode Meloidogyne javanica and the Spiral Nematode Helicotylenchus dihystera, a New Plant Host Record for Both Species
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091085 - 24 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1490
Abstract
In December 2017, a Ficus microcarpa “Tiger bark” bonsai tree was acquired in a shopping center in Coimbra, Portugal, without symptoms in the leaves, but showing small atypical galls of infection caused by root-knot nematodes (RKN), Meloidogyne spp. The soil nematode community was [...] Read more.
In December 2017, a Ficus microcarpa “Tiger bark” bonsai tree was acquired in a shopping center in Coimbra, Portugal, without symptoms in the leaves, but showing small atypical galls of infection caused by root-knot nematodes (RKN), Meloidogyne spp. The soil nematode community was assessed and four Tylenchida genera were detected: Helicotylenchus (94.02%), Tylenchus s.l. (4.35%), Tylenchorynchus s.l. (1.09%) and Meloidogyne (0.54%). The RKN M. javanica was identified through analysis of esterase isoenzyme phenotype (J3), PCR-RFLP of mitochondrial DNA region between COII and 16S rRNA genes and SCAR-PCR. The Helicotylenchus species was identified on the basis of female morphology that showed the body being spirally curved, with up to two turns after relation with gentle heat, a key feature of H. dihystera, and molecular characterization, using the D2D3 expansion region of the 28S rDNA, which revealed a similarity of 99.99% with available sequences of the common spiral nematode H. dihystera. To our knowledge, M. javanica and H. dihystera are reported for the first time as parasitizing F. microcarpa. Our findings reveal that more inspections are required to detect these and other plant-parasitic nematodes, mainly with quarantine status, to prevent their spread if found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Article
Popular Biofortified Cassava Cultivars Are Heavily Impacted by Plant Parasitic Nematodes, Especially Meloidogyne Spp.
Plants 2020, 9(6), 802; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060802 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1434
Abstract
The development of new biofortified cassava cultivars, with higher micronutrient contents, offers great potential to enhance food and nutrition security prospects. Among the various constraints affecting cassava production are plant parasitic nematodes (PPN), especially root-knot nematodes. In this study, six popular biofortified cultivars [...] Read more.
The development of new biofortified cassava cultivars, with higher micronutrient contents, offers great potential to enhance food and nutrition security prospects. Among the various constraints affecting cassava production are plant parasitic nematodes (PPN), especially root-knot nematodes. In this study, six popular biofortified cultivars were field-evaluated for their response to PPN in Nigeria. A field naturally infested with a diversity of PPN but dominated by root-knot nematodes was used. Application of the nematicide carbofuran significantly reduced PPN densities, and at harvest, no root galling damage was observed, compared with untreated plots, which had heavy galling damage. Plant height, stem girth, plant weight, marketable storage root number and weight were significantly lower for most cultivars in untreated plots. Percentage yield losses in the range of 21.3–63.7% were recorded from two separate trials conducted for 12 months each. Lower total carotenoid and dry matter contents were associated with higher PPN densities in some biofortified cultivars, resulting in a loss of as much as 63% of total carotenoid and 52% of dry matter contents. The number and weight of rotted storage roots were significantly greater in untreated plots across cultivars, reducing in-field and post-harvest storability. This study demonstrates that natural field populations of PPN can substantially affect yield, quality and nutritional value of released biofortified cassava cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Review

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Review
The Genus Pratylenchus (Nematoda: Pratylenchidae) in Israel: From Taxonomy to Control Practices
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111475 - 02 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1168
Abstract
Due to Israel’s successful agricultural production and diverse climatic conditions, plant-parasitic nematodes are flourishing. The occurrence of new, previously unidentified species in Israel or of suggested new species worldwide is a consequence of the continuous withdrawal of efficient nematicides. Among plant-parasitic nematodes, migratory [...] Read more.
Due to Israel’s successful agricultural production and diverse climatic conditions, plant-parasitic nematodes are flourishing. The occurrence of new, previously unidentified species in Israel or of suggested new species worldwide is a consequence of the continuous withdrawal of efficient nematicides. Among plant-parasitic nematodes, migratory endoparasitic species of the genus Pratylenchus are widely distributed in vegetable and crop fields in Israel and are associated with major reductions in quality and yield. This review focuses on the occurrence, distribution, diagnosis, pathogenicity, and phylogeny of all Pratylenchus species recorded over the last few decades on different crops grown throughout Israel—covering early information from nematologists to recent reports involving the use of molecular phylogenetic methodologies. We explore the accepted distinction between Pratylenchus thornei and Pratylenchus mediterraneus isolated from Israel’s northern Negev region, and address the confusion concerning the findings related to these Pratylenchus species. Our recent sampling from the northern Negev revealed the occurrence of both P. thornei and P. mediterraneus on the basis of molecular identification, indicating P. mediterraneus as a sister species of P. thornei and their potential occurrence in a mixed infection. Finally, the efficiencies of common control measures taken to reduce Pratylenchus’ devastating damage in protected crops and field crops is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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Review
Current Insights into Migratory Endoparasitism: Deciphering the Biology, Parasitism Mechanisms, and Management Strategies of Key Migratory Endoparasitic Phytonematodes
Plants 2020, 9(6), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060671 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
Despite their physiological differences, sedentary and migratory plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) share several commonalities. Functional characterization studies of key effectors and their targets identified in sedentary phytonematodes are broadly applied to migratory PPNs, generalizing parasitism mechanisms existing in distinct lifestyles. Despite their economic significance, [...] Read more.
Despite their physiological differences, sedentary and migratory plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) share several commonalities. Functional characterization studies of key effectors and their targets identified in sedentary phytonematodes are broadly applied to migratory PPNs, generalizing parasitism mechanisms existing in distinct lifestyles. Despite their economic significance, host–pathogen interaction studies of migratory endoparasitic nematodes are limited; they have received little attention when compared to their sedentary counterparts. Because several migratory PPNs form disease complexes with other plant-pathogens, it is important to understand multiple factors regulating their feeding behavior and lifecycle. Here, we provide current insights into the biology, parasitism mechanism, and management strategies of the four-key migratory endoparasitic PPN genera, namely Pratylenchus, Radopholus, Ditylenchus, and Bursaphelenchus. Although this review focuses on these four genera, many facets of feeding mechanisms and management are common across all migratory PPNs and hence can be applied across a broad genera of migratory phytonematodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Parasitic Nematodes)
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