Observations on the Population Genetic Structure of the Leaf Galling Nematode, Ditylenchus gallaeformans

Samara A. Oliveira, J. Antonio Baeza, Paula Agudelo, Saara J. DeWalt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ditylenchus gallaeformans is a plant parasitic nematode that induces galls on aboveground parts of Melastomataceae plants. It differs from most gall-inducing nematodes in that it is not an endoparasite and has been considered as a possible biological control agent against invasive species of Miconia. Little is known about D. gallaeformans biology, genetic differences among populations, and host preferences. This study examined the genetic differences among D. gallaeformans populations from different locations and host species and the phylogenetic relationships among them. Nematodes were collected from galls in plants from Costa Rica, Dominica, and Trinidad. The Cytochrome c oxidase 1 (cox1) region was sequenced from a total of 33 individual nematodes isolated from 33 different plant individuals, representing 21 species of Melastomataceae. Phylogenetic reconstructions, haplotype networks, and analysis of molecular variance showed that the species is monophyletic and has three major clades, which were mostly consistent with geographic location but not with host species. The first clade was composed by two subclades, one with individuals from Costa Rica and one with individuals from Dominica. The second and third clades comprised nematodes only from Trinidad. Overall, there is no evidence of host–species specialization in D. gallaeformans. Biocontrol efforts using the nematode against invasive Miconia could focus on geographical location matching but likely will not need to match host species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-887
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This study was financially supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant 2015-67014-22956.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The American Phytopathological Society


  • Melastomataceae
  • galls
  • genetic diversity
  • haplotypes
  • invasive plant
  • plant parasitic nematode

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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