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Zootaxa 3937 (3): 533–548 /zootaxa /
Copyright © 2015 Magnolia Press
ISSN 1175-5326 (print edition)
ISSN 1175-5334 (online edition)
Oscheius onirici sp. n. (Nematoda: Rhabditidae): a new entomopathogenic
nematode from an Italian cave
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics - Agrobiology and Pedology Research Centre (CRA-ABP), Via Lanciola 12/A,
Cascine del Riccio, 50125 Firenze (Italy). E-mail: [email protected]
Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection (IPSP)-CNR, via G. Amendola 122/D, 70126 Bari (Italy).
E-mail: [email protected]
Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, Section of Entomology and Zoology, University of Bari “A. Moro”, via G. Amendola,
165/A, 70126 Bari (Italy)
Oscheius onirici sp. n. (Nematoda: Rhabditidae) was isolated from a karst cave soil of Central Italy. Molecular and morphological analyses were performed. Total DNA was extracted from individual nematodes and the mitochondrial COI, the
ITS containing region, the D2-D3 expansion domains of the 28S rRNA gene and the 18S rRNA gene were amplified and
sequenced. BLAST search at NCBI by using all molecular markers revealed that this taxon is similar to Oscheius species.
Phylogenetic trees of ITS, 28S and 18S rDNA revealed that O. onirici sp. n. belongs to Dolichura-group. Oscheius onirici
sp. n. is characterized by small body size and stoma rhabditoid type. Female reproductive system is amphidelphic. Males
are rare with peloderan bursa, spicules slender and small, nine pairs of papillae of different lengths, arranged in a 1+1+1/
3+3 pattern. Entomopathogenicity bioassay revealed that this nematode is capable of infecting larvae of Galleria mellonella and Tenebrio molitor.
Key words: 18S, D2-D3, Description, Dolichura-group, entomopathogenicity bioassay, ITS containing region, mitochondrial COI, taxonomy
The subterranean environment hosts unique biological communities of remarkable diversity that, however, are still
understudied in large parts of Europe (e.g. Gibert & Culver 2009) and species are continuing to be described in
well-known taxa (e.g. Mazza et al. 2013).
The search for entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) has resulted in numerous surveys all over the world, in
order to acquire new resources for biological control of insect pests. EPNs are ubiquitous (Hominick 2002), but
some habitats, such as the cave soils, are understudied in comparison to the classic ones, at least in Italy (Tarasco et
al. 2014).
The genus Oscheius Andrássy, 1976 comprises two main groups, Dolichura and Insectivorus (Sudhaus &
Hooper 1994) and until now EPNs were found only in the Insectivorus-group (Pervez et al. 2013).
During a survey for subterranean entomofauna in a karst cave in Central Italy, soil samples were collected on
October 2013. Only one rhabditid nematode was isolated by using the Galleria trap method. Morphological and
molecular evidence indicated this is a new Oscheius species belonging to the Dolichura-group. Presently, seven
species are recognized in this group, namely: Oscheius bengalensis Timm 1956, O. dolichura Schneider 1866, O.
dolichuroides Anderson & Sudhaus 1985, O. guentheri Sudhaus & Hooper 1994, O. pseudodolichura Körner
1954, O. sechellensis Potts 1910 and O. tipulae Lam & Webster 1971. Oscheius pherosophi Smart & Nguyen 1994
has most of the characteristics of this group, but it is unique in this genus for the presence of fused spicules. The
Accepted by A. Malan: 25 Feb. 2015; published: 26 Mar. 2015
Tumian and O. chongmingensis, with 100% support, suggests a re-examination of this species in order to establish
if it belongs to Oscheius genus.
Overall, the phylogenetic trees examined here confirm that the Insectivorus-group and Dolichura-group
formed monophyletic groups with high support. The results obtained herein demonstrated that all markers allocated
Oscheius species to their corresponding groups and in particular O. onirici sp. n. clustered within Dolichura-group.
The authors thank Dr. Daniele Spigoli (University of Florence) for field assistance, Dr. Laura Ambrogioni
(Florence, Italy) for the support to the morphological study of this new taxon, Alessandro Minelli (Padova, Italy)
for their useful suggestions and the two anonymous referees for their valuable comments and suggestions.
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