The nematode Pristionchus pacificus (Nematoda: Diplogastridae) is associated with the oriental beetle Exomala orientalis (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in Japan

Zoolog Sci. 2007 Sep;24(9):883-9. doi: 10.2108/zsj.24.883.


Pristionchus pacificus has been developed as a nematode satellite organism in evolutionary developmental biology. Detailed studies of vulva development revealed multiple differences in genetic and molecular control in P. pacificus compared to the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. To place evolutionary developmental biology in a comprehensive evolutionary context, such studies have to be complemented with ecology. In recent field studies in western Europe and eastern North America we found 11 Pristionchus species that are closely associated with scarab beetles and the Colorado potato beetle. However, P. pacificus was not commonly found in association with scarab beetles in these studies. Here, we describe the results of a similar survey of scarab beetles in Japan. Pristionchus pacificus was the most common Pristionchus species on scarab beetles in Japan, with 40 out of 43 (93%) isolates. The other Pristionchus isolates represent three novel species, which we refer to as Pristionchus sp. 11, Pristionchus sp. 14, and Pristionchus sp. 15. Thirty-seven of the established P. pacificus strains were found on the oriental beetle Exomala orientalis. Laboratory studies with the sex pheromone (Z)-7-tetradecen-2-one of the oriental beetle revealed that P. pacificus shows strong olfactory attraction to the beetle's sex pheromone, which provides a potential mechanism for the recognition and interaction of P. pacificus and E. orientalis. Together, this study identifies P. pacificus as the most common Pristionchus nematode in field studies in Japan, identifies E. orientalis as an important host species, and provides the basis for the ecology of P. pacificus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chemotaxis*
  • Coleoptera / parasitology*
  • DNA Primers
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nematoda / classification*
  • Nematoda / genetics
  • Nematoda / physiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Helminth / analysis*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Helminth

Associated data

  • GENBANK/EF216858
  • GENBANK/EF216859
  • GENBANK/EF216860