Hermaphroditism in Meloidogyne hapla

  • A. C. Triantaphyllou


Hermaphrodites were detected in diploid and polyploid isolates of population 86-Va of Meloidogyne hapla. Young hermaphrodites are indistinguishable from normal females. Initially, hermaphrodite ovaries are filled with oocytes at various stages of development. Hermaphroditism is expressed later when young oocytes in the early pachytene region of the growth zone suddenly advance to diakinesis and proceed with maturation divisions, resulting in spermatid production. Spermatogenesis may be initiated shortly after the fourth molt, or later, after a female has produced some eggs. Spermatogenesis may occur in one or both gonads, and it may be initiated in one gonad before the other. Once initiated, spermatogenesis continues for the entire reproductive life of the hermaphrodite. Several thousand spermatozoa accumulate in the ovotestis. Because they do not pass through the oviduct into the spermatotheca, they do not take part in reproduction (nonfunctional hermaphroditism). Among the progeny of hermaphrodites, ca. 50% are hermaphroditic, and the remainder are apparently normal females which, however, produce about 50% hermaphroditic progeny. Two temperature regimes (20-23 C and 27-30 C) did not influence the percentage of hermaphrodites among the progeny. Hermaphroditism could not be transmitted to nonhermaphroditic isolates following attempted crosses between males of hermaphroditic and females of nonhermaphroditic isolates. Although this result suggests cytoplasmic rather than nuclear inheritance, this conclusion is not definitive. Key words: cytogenetics, hermaphroditism, Meloidogyne hapla, nematode, reproduction, spermatogenesis.