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Beech leaf disease symptoms caused by newly recognized nematode subspecies Litylenchus crenatae mccannii (Anguinata) described from Fagus grandifolia in North America

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Carta, Lynn Kay; Handoo, Zafar A.; Li, Shiguang ; Kantor, Mihail ; Bauchan, Gary ; McCann, David ; Gabriel, Colette K.; Yu, Qing ; Reed, Sharon ; Koch, Jennifer ; Martin, Danielle ; Burke, David J.

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Forest Pathology


Symptoms of beech leaf disease (BLD), first reported in Ohio in 2012, include interveinal greening, thickening and often chlorosis in leaves, canopy thinning and mortality. Nematodes from diseased leaves of American beech (Fagus grandifolia) sent by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to the USDA, Beltsville, MD in autumn 2017 were identified as the first recorded North American population of Litylenchus crenatae (Nematology, 21, 2019, 5), originally described from Japan. This and other populations from Ohio, Pennsylvania and the neighbouring province of Ontario, Canada showed some differences in morphometric averages among females compared to the Japanese population. Ribosomal DNA marker sequences were nearly identical to the population from Japan. A sequence for the COI marker was also generated, although it was not available from the Japanese population. The nematode was not encountered in Fagus crenata (its host in Japan) living among nematode-infested Fagus grandifolia in the Holden Arboretum, nor has L. crenatae been reported in American beech in Japan. The morphological and host range differences in North American populations are nomenclaturally distinguished as L. crenatae mccannii ssp. n. from the population in Japan. Low-temperature scanning electron microscopy (LT-SEM) demonstrated five lip annules and a highly flexible cuticle. Females, juveniles and eggs were imaged within buds with a Hirox Digital microscope and an LT-SEM. Nematodes swarmed to the tips of freshly cut beech buds, but explants could not be maintained. Inoculation of fresh nematodes from infested leaves or buds to buds or leaves of F. grandifolia seedlings resulted in BLD leaf symptoms. Injuring dormant buds prior to nematode application, in fall or spring, promoted the most reliable symptom expression. The biogeography and physiology of anguinid nematode leaf galling, and potential co-factors and transmission are discussed.


Anguinidae; digital and scanning electron microscopy; foliar nematode; host range; molecular identification; morphometrics; new continent detection; new subspecies; symptom transmission; taxonomy


Carta, Lynn Kay; Handoo, Zafar A.; Li, Shiguang; Kantor, Mihail; Bauchan, Gary; McCann, David; Gabriel, Colette K.; Yu, Qing; Reed, Sharon; Koch, Jennifer; Martin, Danielle; Burke, David J. 2020. Beech leaf disease symptoms caused by newly recognized nematode subspecies Litylenchus crenatae mccannii (Anguinata) described from Fagus grandifolia in North America. Forest Pathology. 50(2): e12580. 15 p.

Last updated on: April 29, 2020