Cactodera cacti   




Rev 12/02/2021

Cactus Cyst Nematode Classification Hosts
Morphology and Anatomy Life Cycle

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           Cactodera cacti (Filipjev & Schuurmans Stekhoven, 1941) Krall and Krall, 1978

Cactus cyst nematode.   


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Morphology and Anatomy:



  • Cyst stage present; circumfenestrate.  Cyst is lemon-shaped to almost spherical, pearly white, yellow, or golden, maturing to light brown, sometimes reddish brown.
  • Eggs with tubercles..  
Male: Vermiform. Body twisted.  

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


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Occurs in warmer regions of southern USA and in Mexico and Cuba on various catus species and on Euphorbia sp.

A cyst nematode was originally observed causing decline symptoms on the cacti Discocactus akkermannii and Cereus speciosus by Adam (1932) in the Netherlands. It was thought to be Heterodera schachtii, but, latert, Filipjev and Schuurmans Stekhoven (1941) described it as  Heterodera cacti. In 1978, Krall and Krall established the genus Cactodera to accommodate C. cacti and other species.

Cactus cyst nematode was later reported from Central America and from arid zones of the southern regions of North America (Siddiqi, 2000). The neamtode is believed to have originated in Mexico (Krall and Krall, 1978)

Cactus cyst nematode is distributed worldwide, mainly on plants of the family Cactaceae grown in greenhouses as ornamentals. As of 2021, there are twelve other species in Cactodera. Sequences from the ITS-rRNA gene are used for molecular diagnostics of species of Cactodera  (Subbotin et al., 2010; Scheck, 2021).

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Economic Importance:

A-rated pest in California Nematode Pest Rating System.

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Nurse cell system: A syncytium.

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Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae: the following are listed as hosts in various literature sources:



Common Name


Common Name

Aporocactus flagelliformis Lem.

Rat-Tail Cactus

Mammillaria longimamma DC.

Pincushion Cactus

Borzicactus trollii Kimnach

Old Man of the Andes

Mammillaria magnimamma Haw.

Pincushion Cactus

Cereus sp. Mill.


Mammillaria martinezii K. Schum.

Pincushion Cactus

Cereus speciosus K. Schum.


Mammillaria parkinsonii Ehrenb.

Pincushion Cactus

Cereus xanthocarpus K. Schum.


Mammillaria perbella Hildm.

Pincushion Cactus

Chamaecereus silvestri Britt. & Rose

Peanut Cactus

Mammillaria pringlei


Coryphantha macrothele ?

Mammillaria prolifera Haw.


Echinopsis aurea Britt. & Rose

Sea Urchin Cactus

Mammillaria saetigera

Pincushion Cactus

Echinopsis sp. L.

Mammillaria sempervivi DC.

Pincushion Cactus

Epiphyllum sp. Haw.

Orchid Cactus

Mammillaria sonorensis R. T. Craig.

Pincushion Cactus

Ferocactus latispinus Britt. & Rose.

Devil's Tongue

Mammillaria sp. Haw.

Pincushion Cactus

Ferocactus pilosus Werderm.

Barrel Cactus

Mammillaria spinosissima Lem.

Pincushion Cactus

Ferocactus setispinus L. Bens.

Strawberry Cactus

Mammillaria winterae Bod.

Pincushion Cactus

Ferocactus sp. Britt. & Rose.

Barrel Cactus

Mammillaria woodsii R. T. Craig

Pincushion Cactus

Gymnocalycium baldianum Speg.

Chin Cactus

Nopalxochia ackermannii F.M. Knuth

Red Orchid Cactus

Gymnocalycium denudatum Pfeiff

Spider Cactus

Notocactus ottonis A. Berger.

Ball Cactus

Gymnocalycium joossensianum Britton & Rose

Chin Cactus

Notocactus tabularis A. Berger.

Ball Cactus

Gymnocalycium multiflorum Britton & Rose

Chin Cactus

Opuntia macdougaliana

Prickly Pear

Gymnocalycium quehlianum Vaup. ex Hosseus

Chin Cactus

Opuntia microdasys Pfeiffer


Lobivia pentlandii Britt. & Rose

Cob Cactus

Opuntia pailana

Prickly Pear

Lobivia sp.

Opuntia sp. Mill.


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



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Infected plants develop branched roots and have an increased number of undersize rootlets.

Plants become reddish brown to yellow in color , may wilt and appear stunted.

Reduced in flower production and shortening of the flowering period.

Vegetative organs become flacid, and flower and stem jointing can be reduced (Mulk, 1977; Esser, 1992).

Necrosis at the feeding sites, access to saprozoic nematodes and pathogenic fungi and bacteria in damaged or stressed plant tissue (Haque and Khan, 2021; Scheck, 2021).

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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


The nematodes are easily spread and distributed worldwide in transport and trade of exotic and ornamental catus plants.

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Adam, W. 1932. Note sur Heterodera schachtii Schm. parasite des cactus. Bulletin du Mus�e Royal d�Histoire Naturelle de Belgique 8, 1-10.

Baldwin, J.G. and Mundo-Ocampo, M., 1991. Heteroderinae, Cyst-and Non. Manual of agricultural nematology, p.275.

Baldwin, J.G., Mundo-Ocampo, M., McClure, M. 1997. Cactodera salina n.sp. From the estuary plant, Salicornia bigelovii, in Sonora, Mexico. J. Nematology 29:465-473.

CABI Invasive Species Compendium 2021. Cactodera cacti Accessed 10/11/21 Calflora Database. Accessed 10/12/2021.

Chan, H.Y., D.Y. Chen, J.H. Yen, P. Chen, and T.T. and Tsay. 2012. Occurrence, identification and the host range studies of cactus cyst nematode from dragon fruit in Taiwan. Plant Path. Bull. Taiwan 21 :170-171.

Chitambar, J. J., Westerdahl, B. B., and Subbotin, S. A. 2018. Plant Parasitic Nematodes in California Agriculture. In Subbotin, S., Chitambar J., (eds) Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Sustainable Agriculture of North America. Sustainability in Plant and Crop Protection. Springer, Cham.

Duan, Y.X., Wang, D. and Chen, L.J., 2012. First report of the cactus cyst nematode, Cactodera cacti, on cactus in northern China. Plant disease, 96(9), pp.1385-1385.

EPPO Global Database. 2021. Cactodera cacti Accessed 10/11/

Esser, R.P., 1992. Cactus cyst nematode, Cactodera cacti. Fla. Department Agric. & Consumer Serv., Division of Plant Industry.

Evans, K., Rowe, J.A. 1998. Distribution and economic importance. In S.B. Sharma (ed). The Cyst Nematodes. Kluwer

Filipjev, I.N. and Schuurmans Stekhoven, J.H. 1941. A manual of agricultural helminthology. Leiden, The Netherlands, E.J. Brill, 878 pp.

Hamlen, R. A. 1975. Evaluation of nematicides for control of Heterodera cacti affecting Zygocactus truncatus. Plant Dis. Reptr. 59:636-637.

Haque, Z. and Khan, M.R., 2021. Handbook of Invasive Plant-Parasitic Nematodes. CABI.

Krall, E.L. and Krall, H.A. 1978. Revision of the plant nematodes of the family Heteroderidae on the basis of trophic specialization of these parasites and their co-evolution with their host plants. In: Fitogel�mintologicheskie Issledovaniya. Moscow, USSR, Nauka, pp. 39-56.

Langdon, K.R. and Esser, R.P., 1969. Cactus cyst nematode, Heterodera cacti, in Florida, with host list. Plant Disease Reporter, 53(2), pp.123-125.

Mulk, M. M. 1977. Heterodera cacti. CIH Descriptions of plant-parasitic nematodes, Set 7, No 96. St Albans, UK, Commonwealth Institute of Helminthology, 4 pp.

Rebou�as, R.B., 2017. Cactodera cacti (Nematoda: Heteroderidae): ocorr�ncia natural em mandacaru (Cereus jamacaru DC.) no Cear� e investiga��o de hospedeiras em cact�ceas e hortali�as. Ubiversidade Federal do Ceara.

Scheck, H.J. 2021. California Pest Rating Proposal for Cactodera cacti (Filipjev & Schuurmans Stekhoven, 1941) Krall & Krall, 1978 Cactus cyst nematode. CDFA, Sacramento

Siddiqi, M.R., 2000. Tylenchida: parasites of plants and insects. CABI.

Skantar, A.M., Handoo, Z.A., Kantor, M.R., Hult, M.N. and Hafez, S.A., 2019. First report of the cactus cyst nematode, Cactodera cacti, from a cactus garden in Idaho. Journal of nematology, 51.

Subbotin S. A., Mundo-Ocampo M. and Baldwin J. G. 2010. Systematics of cyst nematodes (Nematoda: Heteroderinae) Pp. 214 in Hunt D. J. and Perry R. N. (Eds). Nematology Monographs and Perspectives BA and BB Brill, Leiden

USDA Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance and Tracking System, Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD) Harmful Organisms Database Report. Cactodera cacti. Accessed 10/11/2021



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Copyright © 1999 by Howard Ferris.
Revised: December 02, 2021.