Tag Archives: Tylenchorhynchus

Tylenchorhynchus spp. Cobb, 1913

stunt nematode: symptoms, stunting of corn seedling

California Pest Rating for
Tylenchorhynchus spp.  Cobb, 1913
Pest Rating: C 


Initiating Event:

During the 1950-60s, several species of plant parasitic nematodes were given a ‘D’ rating as they were regarded as parasites, predators or organisms of little or no economic importance that did not require State enforced regulatory action.  However, these nematode species were inaccurately assigned a D rating as most, if not all, are plant parasitic and therefore, capable of damaging plant production and causing significant economic losses especially at the county and local residential/grower level.  Furthermore, the detection of plant parasitic nematodes in nursery stock may be an indication of contamination in violation of the State’s standard of pest cleanliness required for nurseries. Tylenchorhynchus spp. were originally rated D.  The risk of infestation and permanent rating of this genus group are re-assessed here.

History & Status:

Background:  Generally, pest risk assessments and assignment of pest ratings are conducted per individual pest species and not per genus group primarily due to differing pest biologies, geographical distributions, host ranges, damage potentials, and risk mitigating requirements. However, an exception to this rule is made here for the genus Tylenchorhynchus largely because of historical practice.  Over the past several decades, the genus, Tylenchorhynchus, was seldom differentiated to species level by CDFA Nematologists mainly due to i) the common occurrence and wide distribution of member species within California, ii) no state enforced regulatory action required subsequent to their detection, and iii) greater demands of time involved in diagnosing high risk and other nematode species considered to be of greater economic importance than those belonging to Tylenchorhynchus.

Members of the genus, Tylenchorhynchus, are sometimes known as ‘stunt nematodes’.  Species reproduce mainly by amphimixis (fertilization by female and male) producing eggs, three juvenile stages, and adults.  These nematodes usually inhabit the soil-root region of plants and feed as obligate migratory ectoparasites of roots using a stylet (sword-like hollow tooth) to feed on epidermal cells. All motile juvenile and adult stages feed.  (Mai et al., 1996; Maggenti, 1981).

Hosts: Tylenchorhynchus spp. are associated with the roots of a wide range of plants including tobacco, cotton, oats, and corn as well as other agricultural crops, fruit trees, ornamentals, nursery stock, forest trees and shrubs, desert shrubs, grasses, and weeds. The host status of associated plants is not always known.

SymptomsGeneral plant damage associated with Tylenchorhynchus spp. includes stunting of the root system which is expressed aboveground by yellowing of foliage, stunted top growth, and sometimes wilt and defoliation (Maggenti, 1981).

Damage Potential:  Generally, Tylenchorhynchus spp. are considered mild pathogens of plants and are common associates of several plants (Norton, 1984).  However, plant damage caused by high populations of stunt nematodes may be more significant in small-area plant productions and/or containerized crops in nursery, residential and local situations than in large acreages and environments such as, pastures, parks, and cultivated fields. Crop losses under field conditions are not reported, however, under experimental conditions, reductions in root and plant growth have been demonstrated by certain species, e.g., T. annulatus on sugarcane and Bermuda grass; T. dubius on beans (Bridge, 1974; Siddiqi, 1976).  Tylenchorhynchus claytoni causes economic damage on tobacco (Mai et al., 1996).  Crop damage under field conditions may be difficult to assess as Tylenchorhynchus spp. are often mixed with other genera and/or two or more stunt nematode species occurring together.

Spread:  The main mode of long and short distance spread through artificial means: movement of nematode-contaminated soil, run-off and irrigation water, cultivation tools, equipment and any human activity that can move soils from infested to non-infested sites.

Worldwide Distribution: Tylenchorhynchus spp. are distributed worldwide.

Official Control:  Currently, Tylenchorhynchus spp. are D rated pests in California (see ‘Initiating Event’).  Tylenchorhynchus spp. are on the ‘Harmful Organism Lists” for Australia and the Republic of Nauru (USDA-PCIT, 2016).

California DistributionTylenchorhynchus spp. are distributed throughout California.

California Interceptions: For the past several decades, Tylenchorhynchus spp. have been detected in several imported plant and soil shipments intercepted in California.

The risk Tylenchorhynchus spp. would pose to California is evaluated below.

 Consequences of Introduction:

1) Climate/Host Interaction: Evaluate if the pest would have suitable hosts and climate to establish in California. Score:

– Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

– Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

Risk is High (3) Tylenchorhynchus spp. are able to establish throughout the State.

2) Known Pest Host Range: Evaluate the host range of the pest. Score:

– Low (1) has a very limited host range.

– Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

High (3) has a wide host range.

Risk is High (3) –Tylenchorhynchus spp. are known to be associated with several diverse plant species, however, the host status of associated plants is not always known.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: Evaluate the natural and artificial dispersal potential of the pest. Score:

– Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

– Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

Risk is High (3) – The main mode of long and short distance spread through artificial means: movement of contaminated soil, run-off and irrigation water, cultivation tools, equipment and any human activity that can move soils from infested to non-infested sites.  Increase in reproduction rates depends on the plant species parasitized.

4) Economic Impact: Evaluate the economic impact of the pest to California using the criteria below. Score:

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F. The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

– Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

– High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

Risk is Low (1) –Generally, Tylenchorhynchus spp. are considered mild pathogens of plants.  However, under high population levels in residential, nurseries and other small-area plantings, Tylenchorhynchus spp. infections could result in lowered crop yield.

5) Environmental Impact: Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below.

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Score the pest for Environmental Impact. Score:

– Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

– High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Risk is Medium (2) – The impact of Tylenchorhynchus spp. on natural environments is most likely not significant as the species is already widespread without causing apparent detriment to ecological balances and processes, however, heavy infestations of spiral nematodes could affect home/urban gardening.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Tylenchorhynchus spp.:

Add up the total score and include it here. (Score)

-Low = 5-8 points

Medium = 9-12 points

-High = 13-15 points

Total points obtained on evaluation of consequences of introduction of Tylenchorhynchus spp. to California = (12).

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Evaluate the known distribution in California. Only official records identified by a taxonomic expert and supported by voucher specimens deposited in natural history collections should be considered. Pest incursions that have been eradicated, are under eradication, or have been delimited with no further detections should not be included. (Score)

-Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

-Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

-Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Evaluation is High (-3)Tylenchorhynchus spp. are widely spread in several contiguous and non-contiguous climate and host regions throughout the state.

Final Score:

7) The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score: (Score)

Final Score:  Score of Consequences of Introduction – Score of Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information = 9



Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Based on the evidence provided above the proposed rating for the spiral nematodes, Tylenchorhynchus spp., is C.


Bridge, J.  1974.  Tylenchorhynchus dubius.  Commonwealth Institute of Helminthology (C. I. H.) descriptions of plant-parasitic nematodes. Set 4, No. 51.

Mai, W. F., P. G. Mullin, H. H. Lyon, and K. Loeffler.  1996.  Plant parasitic nematodes – a pictorial key to genera.  Fifth Edition.  Comstock Publishing Associates a division of Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.  277 p.

Maggenti, A.  1981.  General nematology.  Springer-Verlag New York Heidelberg Berlin.  372 p.

Norton, D. C.  1984.  Nematode parasites of corn. In Plant and Insect Nematodes, edited by W. R. Nickle.  Marcel Dekker, Inc.  New York and Basel. 61-94 pp.

Siddiqi, M. R.  1976.  Tylenchorhynchus annulatus.  Commonwealth Institute of Helminthology (C. I. H.) descriptions of plant-parasitic nematodes. Set 6, No. 85.

USDA-PCIT.  2016.  United States Department of Agriculture, Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance & Tracking System (PCIT). https://pcit.aphis.usda.gov/PExD/faces/ViewPExD.jsp .

Responsible Party:

John J. Chitambar, Primary Plant Pathologist/Nematologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 3294 Meadowview Road, Sacramento, CA 95832. Phone: 916-262-1110, plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov.

Comment Period: CLOSED

The 45-day comment period opened on Jun 2, 2016 and closed on Jul 17, 2016.

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Pest Rating: C

Posted by ls