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Pest Description
IDENTITY: Scientific name: Xiphinema italiae
Meyl, 1953
Common name: A dagger nematode.

NOTE ON TAXONOMY AND BIOLOGY: Females of this dagger nematode are about 3 mm long They have an odontostylet 87-112 µm long and an odontophore about 54-68 µm long. Their tail is elongate-conoid with slight dorsal and ventral constrictions towards the terminus. It has ectoparasitic habits and feeds along feeder roots causing root discoloration and stunting. At 28 C (82 F), it requires six months to complete its life cycle. Males are rare. This nematode vectors the fanleaf virus (GFLV) a serious pathogen of grapevine.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION: Xiphinema italiae is a Mediterranean dagger nematode which has been reported from the following countries: Algeria, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Egypt, Greece Israel, Italy, Libya, Nigeria, Portugal, Rumania, Spain, South Africa, Tunisia, and Turkey (CAB International, 2001;Cohn, 1977).

HOSTS: The main host is grapevine (Vitis sp.). A poor host is sour orange (Citrus aurantium). It also has been found associated with almond (Prunus amygdalus), apricot (Prunus armeniaca), eucalyptus (Eucaliptus sp.), mulberry (Morus sp.), olive (Olea europaea), peach (Prunus persica) and plum (Prunus domestica) and conifers.

CROP LOSSES:  The ability of this nematode to transmit the GFLV has been shown to have devastating effect on grapevine (Brown, 1997; Brown et al., 1993; Cohn, et al., 1970).

MEANS OF MOVEMENT AND DISPERSAL: Xiphinema italiae is dispersed with infested soil and by poorly sanitized bare rooted plants or contaminated machinery.

RATING: (VL) X. italiae is given a VL priority rating due to its uncertain vector status.  This nematode occurs throughout the Mediterranean region, but it is only in Israel that it has been reported to transmit grapevine fanleaf virus (David McNamara, personal communication) and the virus vector status of this nematode needs to be confirmed.

    CAB International, 2001. Xiphinema italiaein: Crop protection compendium, global module, 3rd edition. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.
    Cohn, E. 1977 Xiphinema italiae. , CIH description of plant parasitic nematodes Set 7, No. 95, pp. 3. St. Albans, UK: Commonwealth Institute of Helminthology.
    Brown, D.J.F. 1997. The nematode transmitted viruses. Pp.273-311 in M.S. N. de A. Santos, I.M. O. Abrantes, D.J.F. Brown and R. M. Lemos eds. An introduction to virus vector nematodes and their associated viruses. IAV Departamento de Zoologia Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal.
    Brown, D. J. F., A. Dalmasso and D. L. Trudgill. 1993. Nematodes pests of soft fruits and vines. Pp.427-462 in K. Evans, D. L. Trudgill, and J. M. Webster eds. Plant parasitic nematodes in temperate Agriculture. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.
    Cohn, E., E. Tanne, and F. E. Nitzany. 1970. Xiphinema italiae, a new vector of grapevine fanleaf virus. Phytopathology 60:181-182.