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nematodes and fungi

TRPLATT trplatt at aol.com
Mon Oct 12 06:44:45 EST 1998

Last summer, I participated in a suvery of vertebrate parasites at the Area de
Conservacion, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. One of the turtle species, Rhinoclemmys
pulcherrima, a terrestrial herbivore, was uniformly infected with large numbers
(>10,000) of two species of nematodes tentatively identified as Atractis. Many
of these nematodes had large numbers of fungal hyphae associated with the
cuticle. We have fixed specimens for EM work, but this has not been done yet.
Due to the uniformity of infection, I suspect a mutualistic relationship where
the nematode and fungi are assisting in the digestion of the plant material
that makes up the bulk of the turtle's diet. Does anyone have any information
on similar relationships reported in the literature? Any information would be
greatly appreciated.


Tom Platt
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556

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