Three entomopathogenic nematode populations were isolated from agricultural fields in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir (India). Sequences of multiple gene regions and phenotypic features show that they are conspecific and represent a novel species. Molecular and morphological features provided evidence for placing the new species into the “Kushidai” clade. Within this clade, analysis of sequence data of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene, the D2D3 region of the 28S rRNA gene, the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) gene, and the mitochondrial 12S (mt12S) gene depicted the novel species as a distinctive entity closely related to Steinernema akhursti, S. kushidai, and S. populi. Phylogenetic analyses also show that the new species is a sister species to S. akhursti, and these two species are closely related to S. kushidai and S. populi. Additionally, the new species does not mate or produce fertile progeny with any of the closely related species, reinforcing its uniqueness from a biological species concept standpoint. The new species is further characterized by the third-stage infective juveniles with almost straight bodies (0.7–0.8 mm length), poorly developed stoma and pharynx, and conoid-elongate tail (49–66 µm) with hyaline posterior part. Adult females are characterized by short and conoid tails bearing a short mucron in the first generation and long conoid tails with thin mucron in the second generation. Adult males have ventrally curved spicules in both generations. Moreover, the first-generation male has rounded manubrium, fusiform gubernaculum, conoid and slightly ventrally curved tails with minute mucron, and the second generation has rhomboid manubrium anteriorly ventrad bent, and tails with long and robust mucron. The morphological, morphometrical, molecular, and phylogenetic analyses support the new species status of this nematode, which is hereby described as Steinernema anantnagense n. sp. The bacterial symbiont associated with S. anantnagense n. sp. represents a novel species, closely related to Xenorhabdus japonica. These findings shed light on the diversity of entomopathogenic nematodes and their symbiotic bacteria, providing valuable information for future studies in this field.

Calendario de la edición:
Volume Open
Temas de la revista:
Life Sciences, other