Anguina funesta




Rev 06/13/2022

Seed Gall Nematode Classification Hosts
Morphology and Anatomy Life Cycle
Return to Anguina Menu Economic Importance Damage
Distribution Management
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              Anguina funesta Price, Fisher & Kerr, 1979


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Morphology and Anatomy:


Reported median body size for this species (Length mm; width micrometers; weight micrograms) - Click:

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 Reported from Australia; South Africa and Japan; also from Oregon, USA. Probably spread and distributedf through contaminated seed.

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Economic Importance:

A-rated pest in California.

Causes direct damage through parasitism and formation of seed galls. Importance is increased because it is a vector of the toxigenic actinomycete bacterium, Rathyibacter toxicus that causes Rathayibacter poisoning (annual ryegrass toxicity) to herbivores grazing on the grass (Murray et al., 2014; Riley & Barbetti, 2008).  

The bacterium is also vectored by other Anguina species, including A. agrostisA. triticiA. australis, and A. paludicola (Murray et al., 2014; Chitambar, 2017).. 

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The following are listed as hosts in various literature sources:

Lolium rigidum Ryegrass

The following are listed as nonhosts or resistant in various literature sources:

Vulpia myuros Fescue
Avena fatua Wild Oat
Hordeum leporinum Barley
Vulpia bromoides Fescue
Vulpia fasiculata Fescue


For an extensive host range list for this species, click


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Life Cycle:

Mature seed galls indiced by the nematode contain second-stage juveniles (J2) in an anhydrobiotic state.  Under moist conditionsd, the J2 become active, emerge from degrading galls into the soil.  If the soil becomes dry, the juveniles again become anhydrobiotic until another period of rehydration.  Active juveniles seek and invade host seedlings and feed on the meristem tissues of tillers where they accumulate until development of seed is initiated.  Then they invade the inflorescence and transform developing seed into seed galls.  J2 feed within galls, and develop through two further juvenile stages into adults. The induced seed gall may be infested with up to 20 male and female nematodes.  Sexual reproduction occurs within the galls and  several hundred eggs are produced per gall. As infested plants mature and senesce, J2s enter ther anhydrobiotic survival stage. 

During agriculyural operations, seed galls are harvested and replanted along with healthy seed.  During harvest, galls fall to the ground and remain there until the nematodes regain activity under moist sconditions, thus completing the cycle. 

Ecophysiological Parameters:

For Ecophysiological Parameters for this species, click If species level data are not available, click for genus level parameters

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Direct damage through conversion of seed to galls and as a vector Rathayibacter cwith toxic effects in grazing livestock. The toxicogenic bacteria ARE Carried to seed galls by adhering to the nematode cuticle.


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Host Plant Resistance, Non-hosts and Crop Rotation alternatives:

For plants reported to have some level of resistance to this species, click

Biological Control Possibilities:

Anguina species are vectors of the fungus, Dilophospora alopecuri which inhibits gall formation and bacterial colonization thereby providing biological control of both nematode and bacterium.  Rathyibacter toxicus and Dilophospora alopecuri are transported to the plant host by adhering to the external cuticular surface of A. funesta. (Chitambar, 2017).

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Chitambar, J. 2017. California Pest Rating forAnguina funesta Price, Fisher & Kerr, 1979. CDFA, Sacramento, California, USA.

Fisher, J. M., A. C. McKay and A. J. Dube. 1984. Observations on growth of adults of Anguina funesta (Nematoda:Anguinidae). Nematologica 30:463-469.

Murray, T. D., I. Agarkova, S. Alderman, J. Allen, R. Bulluck, J. Chitambar, C. Divan, I. Riley, B. Schroeder, A. Sechler, and S. Subbotin. 2014. Recovery Plan for Rathayibacter Poisoning caused by Rathayibacter toxicus (syn. Clavibacter toxicus) National Plant Disease Recovery System, a cooperative project of The American Phytopathological Society and The United States Department of Agriculture, posted at 

Riley, I. T., T. B. Reardon, and A. C. McKay. 1988. Electrophoretic resolution of species boundaries in seed-gall nematodes, Anguina spp. (Nematoda:Anguinidae)from some graminaceous hosts in Australia and New Zealand. Nematologica 34:401-411.

Riley, I. T. and Barbetti, M. J.  2008.  Australian anguinids: their agricultural impact and control.  Australasian Plant Pathology 37:289-297.

Riley, I. T. and McKay, A. C.  1990.  Specificity of the adhesion of some plant pathogenic microorganisms to the cuticle of nematodes in the genus Anguina (Nematoda: Anguinidae).  Nematologica 36:90-103.


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Copyright 1999 by Howard Ferris.
Revised: June 13, 2022.