Selection for host-finding in Steinernema feltiae

Randy Gaugler, James F. Campbell, Terry R. McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Scopus citations


A hybridized Foundation population of the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema feltiae was bidirectionally selected for enhanced and diminished host-finding ability. While there was no response to selection for diminished host-finding, 13 rounds of selection for enhancement produced a 20- to 27-fold increase. Moreover, the proportion of infectives initiating positive chemotaxis was increased from less than one-third to more than 80%. Nematodes failing to migrate out of the inoculation zone declined from 33 to 8% after 6 rounds of selection. Relaxation of selection pressure produced a gradual decrease in host-finding. This regression, coupled with the high realized heritability for enhanced host-finding (0.64), suggests that wild-type populations take a passive approach to host-finding. Because for inundative biological control it is desirable that infective stages quickly initiate host-seeking movements, improved host-finding may result in improved field efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


  • Neoaplectana carpocapsae
  • Steinernema feltiae
  • entomopathogenic nematode
  • genetic improvement
  • host-finding
  • mobility
  • nematode behavior
  • selection

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