Life Cycle and Mating Behavior of Belonolaimus longicaudatus in Gnotobiotic Culture


  • Xiang Huang
  • J. Ole Becker


attraction, behavior, belonolaimus longicaudatus, corn, excised roots, gnotobiotic culture, in-vitro culture, life cycle, mating behavior, nematode, reproduction, sting nematode, zea mays


The life cycle of Belonolaimus longicaudatus was observed in vitro on excised roots of Zea mays. Roots were cultured on Gamborg's B5 medium in petri dishes with 1.5% agar adjusted to pH 5.8 and incubated at 28 ºC in darkness. Second-stage juveniles (J2) fed on the roots and started the second molt (M2) to the third-stage juveniles 2 days after inoculation (DAI). The third molt (M3) to the fourth-stage juveniles occurred 7 DAI, followed by the fourth molt (M4) to males 13 DAI or to females 14 DAI. Nematode gender differences were observed by the end of the fourth molt. The first male appeared 15 DAI and the first female 17 DAI, after which mating occurred. Males were attracted to females, and mating was observed. Mating was required for reproduction. Fertilized females began to lay eggs 19 DAI and continued egg laying without the further presence of males during a 90-day observation. All of the eggs hatched. Unfertilized females rarely laid eggs, and none of the eggs were able to hatch. Feeding took place between each molt and before egg deposition occurred. The first-stage juveniles molted in the eggs 4 days after deposition, and J2 hatched from eggs 5 days after egg deposition. The life cycle from J2 to J2 was completed in 24 days.