Feeding behavior of sedentary plant parasitic nematodes

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With the aid of video-enhanced contrast light microscopy the feeding behavior of the cyst nematodeHeterodera schachtii and the root-knot nematodeMeloidogyne incognita has been studied in roots of various cruciferous plants, especially inArabidopsis thaliana, a model plant for molecular studies. The juvenile stage 2 (J2) nematodes ofH. schachtii migrate intracellularly with destructive stylet thrusts before establishing their permanent feeding site (syncytium) within the vascular cylinder. After the selection of the initial syncytial cell (ISC) they undergo a preparation period before they start feeding from the ISC. During all developmental stages feeding occurs in cycles, composed of three distinct phases. In contrast, the J2 ofMeloidogyne incognita reach their permanent feeding site by intercellular migration, first towards the apex of the root, where they turn round, and move towards the differentiating vascular cylinder. A characteristic behavioral pattern, composed of continuous head and stylet movements, interspersed by periods of stylet-tip protrusion and metacorpal bulb pumping is maintained during all phases of parasitism, i.e., root invasion, intercellular migration and feeding from the giant-cells.