Anguina agrostis




Rev 08/03/2020

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Morphology and Anatomy Life Cycle
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              Anguina agrostis (Steinbuch, 1755) Filipjev, 1936


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Morphology and Anatomy:

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

A,C,D=female; B,E,F,G=male
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Europe, Australia, Canada, U.S. (especially Pacific Northwest), New Zealand, and former Soviet Union.

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Economic Importance:

C-rated pest in California Nematode Pest Rating System.

37, 46, and 48% of orchard grass seed samples from the Willamette Valley of Oregon during 1996, 1997, and 2000, respectively, containing Anguina galls.  The number of galls ranged from 1-24 per 25 g of grass seed (Alderman et al., 2003).

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Annual and perennial rye grasses and bent grasses.

The following are listed as hosts in various literature sources:

Agropyron repens Beauvois  Quack Grass Calamagrostis canadensis Beauv. 
Agrostis canina L.  Velvet Bent Grass Festuca ovina L.  Sheeps Fescue
Agrostis capillaris L.  Bent Grass Festuca sp. L.  Fescue
Agrostis castellana Hort. cedrorum Bent Grass Hordeum jubatum L.  Squirrel-Tail-Grass
Agrostis exarata   Bent Grass Koeleria glauca  
Agrostis gigantea Roth  Redtop Bent Grass Koeleria gracilis  
Agrostis polymorpha Huds.  Bent Grass Lolium rigidum   Ryegrass
Agrostis stolonifera L.  Creeping Bent Grass Phalaris arundinacea L.  Reed Canary-Grass
Agrostis stolonifera L. diffusa Creeping Bent Grass Phleum phleoides  
Agrostis stolonifera L. palustris Creeping Bent Grass Phleum sp. L.  Timothy
Agrostis sylvatica Huds.  Bent Grass Poa annua L.  Annual Blue Grass
Agrostis tenuis Sibth.  Colonial Bent Grass Poa pratensis L.  Kentucky Blue-Grass
Apera spica-venti Beauv.  Poa pratensis L. alpigena Kentucky Blue-Grass
Arctagrostis latifolia   Sporobolus brockmanii  
Buchloe dactyloides Engelm.  Buffalo Grass Trisetum flavescens  
For an extensive host range list for this species, click
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Life Cycle:


Ecophysiological Parameters:

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


Similar to A. tritici, except that second stage hatches from egg.

One generation produced per year.  Seed gall ruptures when mucoprotein takes up water and expels nematodes.  This corresponds to favorable conditions for germination of host seeds.

Nematodes can remain viable in dry, cigar-shaped galls for up to 10 years.

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In Australia, a bacterium formerly considered to be Corynebacterium rathayi attaches to nematode cuticle and is carried into seed gall.  Corynebacterium rathayi is now reclassified as Clavibacter rathayi and the ryegrass toxicity organism is considered closely related to but may be a new species of Clavibacter (Riley, 1987).

The bacterium outcompetes the nematode for resources in seed gall, increases, and coats surface which becomes sticky and yellow; produces a neurotoxin that causes convulsion and mortality in grazing animals, i.e., "Staggers." - term used for the effect on sheep[ in Australia.  The toxin is produced late in season as the gall matures ( Bird and Stynes, 1977).

Livestock poisoning is occasionally reported in the U.S., otherwise, majority of the damage caused by the nematode results in reduction of seed yield.

The relationship between nematode and bacterium is similar to that between A. tritici and Clavibacter tritici that causes Tundu disease of wheat.


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In grasses, seed galls are difficult to detect as they are covered by lemmas and paleas. A small scarifier can be used to remove lemmas and paleas without damage to seeds or galls. That allows visual identification of galls (Alderman et al., 2003). 


 Ryegrass toxicity:

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

For plants reported to have some level of resistance to this species, click
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Alderman SC, Bilsland DM, Griesbach JA, Milbrath GM, Schaad NW, Postnikova E. 2003. Use of a seed scarifier for detection and enumeration of galls of Anguina and Rathayibacter species in orchard grass seed. Plant Disease 87:320-323.

Bird, A.F., Stynes, B.A. 1977.  The morphology of a Corynebacterium sp. parasitic on annual ryegrass Phytopathology 67:828-830.

CIH Descriptions of Plant-parasitic Nematodes, Set 2, No. 20 (1973)

Riley, 1987; International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology 35:153-159

Goodey, J. B., M. T. Franklin, and D. J. Hooper. 1965. T. Goodey's: The Nematode Parasites of Plants Catalogued Under Their Hosts. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux, Farnham Royal, Bucks, England. Third Edition

Siddiqui, I. A., S. A. Sher and A. M. French. 1973. Distribution of Plant Parasitic Nematodes in California. State of California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry. 324p.

Pinkerton, J. N., and S. C. Alderman. 1994. Epidemiology of Anguina agrostis in highland colonial bentgrass. Journal of Nematology 26:315-323.

Stynes, B. A. and A. F. Bird. 1980. Anguina agrostis, the vector of annual rye grass toxicity in Australia. Nematologica 26:475-490.  

Riddle, D. L., and A. F. Bird. 1985. Responses of Anquina agrostis to detergent and anesthetic treatment. Journal of Nematology 17:165-168.  


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Copyright © 1999 by Howard Ferris.
Revised: August 03, 2020.