Rhabditella axei


Rev 29-03-2024

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Rhabditella axei Andrassy (or subgenus format:  Rhabditis (Rhabditella) axei Cobbold, 1994; Chitwood, 1933)

Morphology and Anatomy:











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



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Rhabditella axei has been reported from Europe, Africa and Asia, mainly regarding apparent parasitic associations with molluscs, birds ansd humans (Sciandra et al., 2024).

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 Mahmoud et al. (2019) suggested that feeding and life life cycle may be either as a free-living bacterial-feeder or necromenic in larger snails and parasitic in in smaller snails. A parasitic habit in the mantle, kidney, crop, and stomach of snailswas reported by Awharitoma and Edo-Taiwo (2012)

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Biology and Ecology:

Rhabditis (Rhabditella) axei is a free-living, pseudoparasitic, necromenic, and parasitic nematode, depending on the host. This species feeds mainly on bacteria present in decaying organic matter in soil and other substrates; however, in its parasitic form, it can colonize some species of snails (Odaibo et al., 2000; Sciandra et al., 2024).

Rhabditella axei is sometimes reported from humans where the immune system is depressed, also reported from birds and dogs and from African giant snails (El-Azazt et al., 1988; Levine et al., 1963)

The palm borer, a lepidopteran - Paysandisia archon - is an alien invasive moth in Italy.  In 2021-2023, R. axei was found emerging from dead larvae of the palm borer, in Central Italy . The nematode was obtained from palm fibers and dead palm borer larvae removed from the palm Trachycarpus fortunei in three locations.

.The pathogernicity of the nematode to insects was tested on Galleria mellonella larvae but there was no entomopathogenic effect (Sciandra et al., 2024).

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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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Ecosystem Functions and Services:


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Awharitoma, A.O., and Edo-Taiwo, O. 2012. Rhabditis axei (Nematoda: Oxyuridae) infection among terrestrial snails in Southern Nigeria. The Zoologist 10:1-�5.

El-Azazy, O.M.E., El-Gawady, H.M., and Nada, M.S. 1988. The occurrence of Rhabditis (Rhabditella) axei in the faeces of a chicken in Egypt. Journal of Helminthology 62:219-220.

Levine, N.D., Birch, C.L., Dolowy, W.C. and McKinney, R.E. 1963. Rhabditis axei, a pseudoparasitic nematode of the dog. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 142:1404-1406.

Mahmoud, N., Ibrahim, A., Willson, M., Mahmoud, M., Hussein, M.A., and Moussa, S. 2019. Molecular identification of parasitic nematode and its pathogenicity against three species of land gastropods. Research on Crops 20:85-90.

Odaibo, A.B., Dehinbo, A.J., Olofintoye, L.K., and Falode, O.A. 2000. Occurrence and distribution of Rhabditis axei (Rhabditida; Rhabditidae) in African giant snails in southwestern Nigeria. Helminthologia 37: 223-235.

Sciandra, C., Amoriello, S., Degli, I.E., Nicotera, V., Barbieri, F., Mazza, G., Torrini, G., Roversdi, P.F., Strangi, A. 2024. First report of Rhabditis (Rhabditella) axei with the invasive palm borer Paysandisia archon. J. Nematology 56: DOI: 10.2478/jofnem-2024-0005

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Copyright © 1999 by Howard Ferris.
Revised: March 29, 2024.