Taxonomic and Biological Characterization of <I>Steinernema rarum</I> Found in the Southeastern United States


  • Khuong B. Nguyen
  • David I. Shapiro-Ilan
  • James R. Fuxa
  • Bruce W. Wood
  • Maria A. Bertolotti


DNA, entomopathogenic nematodes, host range, ITS, morphology, reproduction, Steinernema rarum, taxonomy.


Two Steinernema isolates found in Louisiana and Mississippi were later identified as isolates of S. rarum. DNA sequences of ITS regions of the United States isolates are identical with sequences of Argentinean S. rarum strains Samiento and Noetinger and differ by two bases from the Arroyo Cabral isolate from C¢rdoba, Argentina. SEM observations revealed several new structures in the isolates from the US: female face views have a hexagonal-star perioral disc and eye-shaped lips; some females do not have cephalic papillae; lateral fields of infective juveniles are variable; there are two openings observed close to the posterior edge of the cloaca. Virulence of the US isolates to Anthonomus grandis, Diaprepes abbreviatus, Solenopsis invicta, Coptotermes formosanus, Agrotis ipsilon, Spodoptera frugiperda, and Trichoplusia ni and reproductive potential were evaluated in comparison with other heterorhabditid and steinernematid nematodes. Results such as particularly high virulence to S. frugiperda indicate that the biocontrol potential of the new S. rarum strains merits further study.