Nematodes

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Ants can serve as developmental, definitive, intermediate, or carrier hosts of a variety of nematodes. Parasitic ant nematodes include members of the families Mermithidae, Tetradonematidae, Allantonematidae, Seuratidae, Physalopteridae, Steinernematidae, and Heterorhabditidae. Those nematodes that are phoretically associated with ants, internally or externally, are represented by the Rhabditidae, Diplogastridae, and Panagrolaimidae. Fossils of mermithids, tetradonematids, allantonematids, and diplogastrids associated with ants show the evolutionary history of these relationships, some of which date back to the Eocene (40 mya). (Poinar, 2012)


Photo Gallery

  • Borowiec and Salata 2015 F6.jpg
  • Mermithid exposed in the gaster of Camponotus sp. from the Sierra Nevada, California (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 2).
  • Parasitic juveniles of Allomermis solenopsi removed from the gaster of a fire ant worker. Photo courtesy of S. D. Porter, USDA-ARS (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 2).
  • The fossil nematode, Heydenius formicinus, emerging from a male Prenolepis henschei in Baltic amber (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 3).
  • Heydenius formicinus adjacent to its worker ant host in Baltic amber (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 4).
  • Heydenius myrmecophila adjacent to its Linepithema ant host in Dominican amber (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 5).
  • Two mermithid-infected soldiers (mermithostratiotes) (arrows) of Pheidole pallidula adjacent to smaller workers and an uninfected soldier (with large head). Note smaller heads on infected soldiers. Photo courtesy of Luc Passera (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 7).
  • Pheromermis villosa in a carpenter ant from Holland (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 8).
  • Mature female of Myrmeconema neotropicum in the early stages of egg production removed from a pupa of Cephalotes atratus. Arrow shows position of vulva (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 9).
  • Mature females of Myrmeconema neotropicum packed with eggs in the gaster of a Cephalotes atratus worker in Peru (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 10).
  • Eggs of Myrmeconema neotropicum released from the gaster of an infected Cephalotes atratus worker in Peru (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 11).
  • Worker of Cephalotes atratus infected with Myrmeconema neotropicum. The raised, red abdomen occurs when the nematode eggs are infective and ready for transport by birds. Photo courtesy of Stephen P. Yanoviak (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 12).
  • Worker of Cephalotes serratus infected with Myrmeconema antiqua in Dominican amber. Note microscopic eggs widely distributed in the amber that were released from a hole in the ant’s gaster (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 13).
  • Detail of eggs of Myrmeconema antiqua in various stages of development in Dominican amber (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 14).
  • Female of the allantonematid Formicitylenchus oregonensis removed from the body cavity of Camponotus vicinus in Oregon, USA (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 15).
  • Parasitic female of an undescribed allantonematid from workers of Cephalotes christopherseni in Peru (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 17).
  • Three dauer juveniles of Formicodiplogaster myrmenema adjacent to a worker of Azteca alpha in Dominican amber (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 23).
  • Detail of a dauer juvenile of Formicodiplogaster myrmenema adjacent to a worker of Azteca alpha in Dominican amber (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 24).
  • Developing stages of Steinernema carpocapsae removed from the body of an infected queen of Solenopsis invicta (Poinar, 2012, Fig. 25).
  • From: Steiner et al. 2019; five immature nematodes removed from a worker of Myrmica sabuleti trapped in a pitfall near Jena, Germany.

Pheidole symbiotica

These nemotodes are known from a variety of ants. Borowiec and Salata (2015) found that the workers of the previously described species Pheidole symbiotica were simply workers of Pheidole pallidula that were infested with mermithid nematodes.

Sommimyrma symbiotica

Csosz (2012) - Bolton (1988) reported that the holotype of Sommimyrma symbiotica might have been a developmentally abnormal specimen, avoiding any further speculations. According to the images (Figs. 1a, b) probably two or three nematode worms (confirmed by nematologists, Gábor Majoros and George Poinar) nearly completely fill in the gaster of the type individual. The worms are not completely developed; these parasites apparently did not attain the preadult stage. In general characteristics of external morphology the symbiotica holotype specimen is reminiscent of the workers or mermithogenic phenotypes of Myrmica scabrinodis, hence I conducted a PCA based morphometric comparison of the type with both infested and uninfected classes of M. scabrinodis. Results demonstrate that M. symbiotica holotype is nested in the cluster of infested M. scabrinodis individuals (Fig. 2). Based on these results I propose new junior synonymy with M. scabrinodis.

Known Ant Hosts

Ant Nematode Locality Source Notes
Acromyrmex crassispinus Panagrolaimus sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex octospinosus Steinerema carpocapsae Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Aphaenogaster subterranea Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany (Wuerzburg) Gösswald, 1938; Laciny, 2021
Atta cephalotes Panagrolaimus sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Atta cephalotes Pristonchus sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Azteca Diploscapter lycostoma Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Azteca alpha Formicodiplogaster myrmenema Dominican amber Poinar, 2011 Dominican amber
Camponotus aethiops Camponotimermis bifidus Ipateva et al., 1990
Camponotus aethiops Comanimermis clujensis Coman, 1953
Camponotus atriceps Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Mexico Wheeler, 1933; Laciny, 2021 as ''Camponotus abdominalis stercorarius''
Camponotus castaneus Rabbium paradoxus Florida, United States Poinar et al., 1989
Camponotus claripes Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Australia (NSW) Wheeler, 1933; Laciny, 2021
Camponotus consobrinus Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Australia (NSW) Wheeler, 1933; Laciny, 2021
Camponotus herculeanus Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Italy Finzi, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Camponotus herculeanus Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Camponotus herculeanus Oscheius dolichura Ontario Nickle & Ayre, 1966
Camponotus pompeius cassius Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Congo Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Camponotus punctulatus minutior Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Argentina Wheeler, 1929; Laciny, 2021
Camponotus vicinus Formicitylenchus oregonensis Oregon, USA Poinar, 2003
Cephalotes atratus Myrmeconema neotropicum Peru, Panama Poinar & Yanoviak, 2008
Cephalotes minutus Agamomermis cephaloti Brazil Poinar et al., 2006
Cephalotes serratus Myrmeconema antiqua Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode unknown; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Cephalotes serratus Palaeoallantonema cephalotae Dominican amber Poinar, 2011; Quevillon, 2018 Dominican amber; encounter mode unknown; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Cladomyrma Diploscapter sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Cladomyrma Sclerorhabditis sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Colobopsis Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermis") Papua New Guinea Maeyama et al., 1994 Laciny, 2021
Colobopsis Mermithidae (unspecified taxon) Brunei, KBFSC Laciny et al., 2017 ant identified as ''Colobopsis'' sp. nrSA
Crematogaster Diploscapter sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Crematogaster Sclerorhabditis sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Eciton burchellii Agamomermis ecitoni Venezuela Poinar et al., 2006
Ectatomma ruidum Meximermis ectatommi Mexico Poinar et al., 2006 see also Weber, 1946 (Trinidad)
Ectatomma tuberculatum Mermis sp. Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode secondary; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Ectatomma tuberculatum Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Panama, Trinidad Wheeler, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Ectatomma tuberculatum unidentified nematode French Guiana
Formica Diploscapter lycostoma Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Formica Diploscapter lycostoma Wahab, 1962
Formica fusca Comanimermis clujensis Coman, 1953
Formica fusca Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Formica polyctena Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Formica rufa Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Formica rufa Oscheius dolichura Janet, 1893; Wahab, 1962
Formica rufa Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Formica rufa Pristionchus lheritieri Wahab, 1962
Formica rufibarbis Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Formica sanguinea Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Lasius Diploscapter lycostoma Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Lasius Diploscapter lycostoma Wahab, 1962
Lasius Koerneria histophora Wahab, 1962
Lasius Pheromermis myrmecophila Crawley & Baylis, 1921
Lasius Pheromermis myrmecophila Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode secondary; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Lasius Pristionchus lheritieri Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Lasius Pristionchus lheritieri Wahab, 1962
Lasius alienus "Mermis" England (Oxford, Cornwal) Crawley & Baylis, 1921
Lasius alienus Mermis myrmecophila Germany Gosswald, 1929; Laciny, 2021
Lasius alienus Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany (Wuerzburg) Gösswald, 1938; Laciny, 2021
Lasius americanus Allomermis (sensu Cobb) Massachusetts, United States Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Lasius brevicornis Allomermis (sensu Cobb) Massachusetts, United States Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Lasius brunneus Diplogasteroides spengelii Kohler, 2012
Lasius brunneus Diplogasteroides spengelli Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Lasius brunneus Diploscapter sp. Kohler, 2012
Lasius brunneus Halicephalobus similigaster Kohler, 2012
Lasius brunneus Koerneria histophora Kohler, 2012
Lasius brunneus Oscheius dolichura Kohler, 2012
Lasius brunneus Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Lasius claviger Oscheius dolichura Nickle & Ayre, 1966
Lasius claviger Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Lasius flavus "Mermis" England (Oxford, Cornwal) Crawley & Baylis, 1921
Lasius flavus Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany (Wuerzburg) Gösswald, 1938; Laciny, 2021
Lasius flavus Oscheius dolichura Janet, 1893; Wahab, 1962
Lasius flavus Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Lasius flavus Pheromermis myrmecophila Ireland O'Rourke, 1946; O’Grady & Breen, 2011; Laciny, 2021
Lasius flavus Pheromermis villosa Austria Kaiser, 1986a, 1986b
Lasius neoniger Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Europe Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Lasius niger "Mermis" England (Oxford, Cornwal) Crawley & Baylis, 1921
Lasius niger Mermithidae (Pheromermis sp.?) Austria, Burgenland Laciny, 2017
Lasius niger Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany (Wuerzburg) Gösswald, 1938; Laciny, 2021
Lasius niger Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Lasius niger Pheromermis lasiusi Rubstov, 1970
Lasius niger Pheromermis myrmecophila Ireland O'Rourke, 1946; O’Grady & Breen, 2011; Laciny, 2021
Lasius niger Pheromermis villosa Austria Kaiser, 1986a, 1986b
Leptothorax acervorum Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Linepithema Heydenius myrmecophila Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode unknown; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Linepithema Heydenius myrmecophila Dominican amber Poinar et al., 2006 Dominican amber fossil
Linepithema humile Diploscapter lycostoma Markin & McCoy, 1968
Myrmecia forficata Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Australia (Victoria) Wheeler, 1933; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica Steinerema carpocapsae Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Myrmica gallienii Mermithidae (unspec.) Hungary Csosz & Majoros, 2009; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica rubra Mermithidae (unspec.) Poland Czechowsk et al., 2007; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica rubra Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica ruginodis Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica rugulosa Diploscapter lycostoma Wahab, 1962
Myrmica rugulosa Mermithidae (unspec.) Poland Czechowsk et al., 2007; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica rugulosa Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica sabuleti Hexamermis/Agamermis Germany Steiner et al., 2019; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica sabuleti Mermithidae (unspec.) Poland Czechowsk et al., 2007; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica scabrinodis "Mermis" Hungary, France, Austria, Italy Csosz, 2012; Laciny, 2021 infected ant described as ''Sommimyrma symbiotica'', now ''Myrmica scabrinodis''
Myrmica scabrinodis Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica schencki Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Myrmica sulcinodis "Mermis" Hungary, France, Austria, Italy Radchenko & Elmes, 2003; Csosz, 2012; Laciny, 2021
Neoponera inversa Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Colombia Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Neoponera villosa Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Neotropics Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Odontomachus chelifer Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Neotropics Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Odontomachus haematodus Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Neotropics Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Odontomachus hastatus Agamomermis costaricensis Costa Rica Poinar et al., 2006
Pachycondyla fuscoatra Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Neotropics Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Pachycondyla striata Mermithidae (Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermis") Paraguay Strelnikov, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Paraponera clavata Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Neotropics Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Pheidole absurda Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Neotropics Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Pheidole dentata Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Texas, United States Wheeler, 1901; Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021 as ''Pheidole commutata''
Pheidole gouldi Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Guatemala Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Pheidole pallidula Hexamermis France Passera, 1976; Laciny, 2021
Pheidole pallidula Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") France Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Pheidole sauberi Mermithidae (species unspecified) Philippines General & Buenavente, 2021
Pheidole susannae Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Guatemala Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Pheidole vorax Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Guatemala Wheeler, 1928; Laciny, 2021
Pogonomyrmex Steinerema carpocapsae Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Pogonomyrmex barbatus Skrjabinoptera phrynosoma Texas, United States Lee, 1957
Polyrhachis delecta Mermithidae (unspec.) Australia (N. Queensland) Downes, 2017; Laciny, 2021
Polyrhachis monteithi Mermithidae (unspec.) Australia (N. Queensland) Downes, 2017; Laciny, 2021
Prenolepis henschei Heydenius formicinus Baltic amber Poinar, 2002 Baltic amber fossil
Prolasius advena Diploscapter formicidae Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Prolasius advena Diploscapter formicidae New Zealand Zhao et al., 2013
Solenopsis Steinerema carpocapsae Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis fugax Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Solenopsis fugax Mermix Germany Gosswald, 1929; Laciny, 2021
Solenopsis geminata Mermithidae (unspec.) USA, Florida McInnes & Tschinkel, 1996; Laciny, 2021
Solenopsis geminata Mermithidae (unspec.) USA, Florida Mitchell & Jouvenaz, 1985; Laciny, 2021
Solenopsis geminata Steinerema carpocapsae Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis invicta Allomermis solenopsi Argentina Poinar et al., 2007; Laciny, 2021
Solenopsis invicta Diploscapter sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis invicta Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis invicta Mermithidae (unspec.) USA, Florida McInnes & Tschinkel, 1996; Laciny, 2021
Solenopsis invicta Mesorhabditis longespiculosa Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis invicta Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis invicta Sclerorhabditis sp. Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis invicta Steinerema carpocapsae Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis invicta Steinernema carpocapsae Poinar, 2012
Solenopsis invicta Tetradonema solenopsis Brazil Nickle & Jouvenaz, 1987
Solenopsis pergandei Mermithidae (unspec.) USA, Florida McInnes & Tschinkel, 1996; Laciny, 2021
Solenopsis richteri Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis richteri Steinerema carpocapsae Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Solenopsis richteri Tetradonema solenopsis Argentina Jouvenaz & Wojcik, 1990
Temnothorax interruptus Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Temnothorax nigriceps Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Temnothorax ravouxi Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021 as ''Epimyrma gösswaldi''
Temnothorax tuberum Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Temnothorax unifasciatus Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany Gosswald, 1930; Laciny, 2021
Tetramorium caespitum Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Germany (Wuerzburg) Gösswald, 1938; Laciny, 2021
Tetramorium caespitum Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") Switzerland (Wallis) Kutter, 1958; Laciny, 2021
Tetramorium caespitum Oscheius dolichura Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Tetramorium caespitum Oscheius dolichura Wahab, 1962

References