Wheat-gall Nematode, Anguina tritici, belonging to the Family Anguinidae of the Order Tylenchida, is also known as seed-gall nematode as it is found in the seed heads of wheat plants, where it feeds on the developing grains. The presence of the nematode in wheat heads results in the formation of galls, and the grains become distorted, discolored, and shriveled.
The wheat gall nematode is a microscopic roundworm. It is a migratory endoparasite that lives inside the plant and moves through its tissues, feeding on the nutrients it needs to survive. The wheat gall nematode is a major concern for wheat production worldwide and is particularly damaging in developing countries where wheat is the major staple crop.
To effectively manage this pest, it is important to understand its life cycle, its preferred habitats, and the best methods for controlling it. This article will provide an overview and discussion of the Wheat-gall Nematode Pest in wheat crops, including its symptoms, identification techniques, and control.
Wheat-gall Nematode Pest Management in Wheat
Life Cycle of Wheat-gall Nematode Pest in Wheat Crop
The life cycle of the wheat-gall nematode pest in wheat crops is complex. Naturally, the dry wheat galls enter the soil from the ripe ears. The galls can survive in the soil in a dormant state for up to two years. Each gall can contain about 1,000 to 30,000 larvae, which become active when the gall is exposed to moisture. Then the larvae will be dispersed into the soil, infest a host plant, and feed on their young leaves and meristematic tissues.
Later, as the plants reach the earing stage, the larvae will enter the flower buds and produce the galls instead of the normal seed. The larvae will then mature into an equal number of adult males and females. They mate and lay a huge number of eggs. The young larvae that emerge from these eggs progress to the next stage and then go dormant until the next season. There is only one generation per year.
Occurrence of Wheat-gall Nematode Pest in Wheatfield
- Location of Wheat-gall Nematode: The pest is native to Europe and Asia but has been spread to other regions by humans. The pest is found to infest the crop in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Turkey, China, India, Africa, Brazil, and Australia.
- Host Range: The wheat-gall nematode can infect different crops, including spelt and emmer wheat varieties, rye, triticale, sorghum, millet, and buckwheat.
Factors Favoring the Population Increase of Wheat-gall Nematode Pest in Wheatfield
- Poor crop management practices like inadequate weed control, inadequate fertilization, and inadequate rotation of crops can lead to the development of an environment conducive to the pest.
- The wheat-gall nematode has no natural predators to keep its population in check.
- Higher Reproductive Rate – They reproduce quickly due to their short life cycle. A female nematode can lay up to 200 eggs in a single day, and the eggs will hatch within five days.
- The adaptability to dry and wet soils and low and high temperatures allows the wheat-gall nem