Diversity and distribution of nematodes associated with terrestrial slugs in the Western Cape Province of South Africa
A survey of nematodes associated with native and introduced species of terrestrial slugs was conducted in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, in order to gather new data regarding diversity and distribution. A total of 521 terrestrial slugs were collected from 35 localities throughout the Western Cape. All slugs were dissected and examined for the presence of internal nematodes. Extracted nematodes were identified using a combination of molecular (18S rRNA gene sequencing) and morphological techniques. Nematodes were found parasitizing slugs at 14 of the 35 sites examined, amounting to 40% of sample sites. Of all slugs, 6% were infected with nematodes. A total of seven species of nematode were identified in the province, including Agfa flexilis, Angiostoma sp., Phasmarhabditis sp. SA1, Phasmarhabditis sp. SA2, Caenorhabditis elegans, Panagrolaimus sp. and Rhabditis sp. Of these species, four were thought to be parasitic to slugs (A. flexilis, Angiostoma sp., Phasmarhabditis sp. SA1 and Phasmarhabditis sp. SA2), as opposed to forming necromenic or phoretic associations. Three new species of slug-parasitic nematode were identified during this study (Angiostoma sp., Phasmarhabditis sp. SA1 and Phasmarhabditis sp. SA2). © 2011 Cambridge University Press.