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Phylum Nemathelminthes (Nematoda)

This phylum has considered the largest phylum of pseudocoelomates and one of the most widespread and abundant groups of animals. They occur in, enormous numbers in marine and fresh water bottom sediments and in the water films around soil particles. The phylum includes many parasitic species, exhibiting all degrees of parasitism on both plant and animal hosts. Food crops, domestic animals and humans are parasitized by many species and consequently roundworms are of tremendous economic and medical importance. Most free-living nematodes are less than a millimeter in length. While parasitic nematodes may also be minute, species parasitic in the gut of vertebrates may attain much larger sizes.

Charasterustucs of Phylum Nemathelminthes:

1. The body of nematodes is long, cylindrical and tapered at both ends. However, mature females of some nematode groups have swollen bodies. 2. The body is pseudocoel, triploplastic and non segmented exhibiting bilateral symmetry. 3. Mouth opening at the anterior end surrounding with lips, sensory bristles and papillae. 4. The anus is located a short distance in front of the posterior end. 5. The body is covered with a thick layer, the cuticle which is composed of several layers, Chemically resistant and secreted by hypodermis.

6. The musculature is well developed, composed only of longitudinal fibers, no circular. 7. The mouth opens into a buccal cavity, which may be provided with teeth or a stylet. The buccal cavity is connected to a tubular muscular esophagus. The remainder of the gut, a long straight intestine, is the site of digestion and absorption. 8. Nematodes have no respiratory organs or circulatory systems, where transport of dissolved substances from the digestive tract by means of the fluids in pseudocoel. 9. The excretory system consists of few cells or renettes and two canals located in the lateral lines. 10. The nervous system is composed of a circum-esophageal nerve ring from which arise six short anterior trunks and six long posterior trunks.

11. The nematodes are diocieous, i.e. sexes are separate, their genital organs are usually thread- like and they produce eggs with tough resistant coverings. 12. The life cycle is direct, and rarely indirect as in filarial.

Classification of Nemathelminthes:
Phylum Nemathelminthes is usually divided into two classes and several orders, as well as the other categories. However, we will record the classes and the mostly important orders:

A- Class Aphasmidia (Adenoporea)

No phasmids (caudal sensory organs organs); amphid much modified externally in parasitic forms; excretory system is one or more of renette cells. Males have no caudal alae. Mostly free living, few are parasitic. Some species are plant virus transmitters. This class is divided to many orders; however the following are, of our interest:

a- Order Dorylamida:

This order includes free- living members live in soil, marine or fresh water. Some of which live as plant-parasitic forms.
b- Order Trichurida:

B- Class Phasmidia (Secernentea):

Phasmids present. Amphids are simple pores. Excretory system is one or two tubes in the lateral lines. Males have caudal alae. Mostly parasitic. This class is divided to many orders which include members live either free in soil and water or as parasites in plants and animals. The following orders are of our interest: .

a- Order Rhabditida:

The majority is free-living

b- Order Tylenchida:

Most memberts of this order are plant-parasitic forms. Small in size with fusiform shape. Females of some species are swollen. The body is annulated. The mouth is provided with stomatostylet. The esophagus is tribulboid. Female reproductive system paired or single, while the male reproductive system is single. Bursa; spicules are present.
c- Order Ascaridida:

The majority are intestinal parasitic forms.

Economic Importance of Nemathelminthes:

Members of phylum Nemathelminthes are wide-spread in all types of habitats; water, soil; plants, animals and humans. The importance of nematode is mainly focused on the parasitic members. As parasites of animals, many of them are found in alimentary canal, liver, kidneys, lungs, blood, lymph etc. The plant parasitic nematodes constitute one of the most effective obstacles in crops production. Examples of animals and plant parasitic nematode will be discussed in details in the following paragraphs: Nematode development is similar in all nematodes. Consists of 4 larval (=juvenile) stages between the egg and adult. Each stage is separated by a molt of the cuticle. Egg M1 L1 M2 L2 M3 L3 M4 L4 Adult Larval stagesmay be passed within the egg, free-living in soil, parasitic in an intermediate host, or parasitic in definitive host.

Digestive tract is complete. Mouth pharynx esophagus intestine anus

Intestine possesses well-developed microvilli for


Food Little digestion occurs within the nematode

intestine; it is dependent upon the host to digest food into an absorbable form. Pseudocoelomic fluid has two functions: (1) serves as __________________________ giving the body rigidity (2) serves as __________________transporting materials from cell to cell

Excretory system is primitive and consists of 1 or 2 glands or excretory canals Excretory pore is anterior. Reproductive system consists of tubular organs lying in the pseudocoelom. FEMALE nematodes are larger in size. The female reproductive organs are doubled.

Nervous system consists of a circum

esophageal nerve ring and 2 or 4 longitudinal nerve trunks extending the length of the nematode.

In both the male and female systems, the tubular organs are continuous and increase in diameter as they extend to the genital opening. When viewed in cross-section, the organs are histologically distinct.



Symptoms of Ascaris vitulorum infection:

1. Migration of the larvae through some organs before residing the host
intestine may cause some damage in such organs.

2. The adult worms share the infected animals their digested foods such
matter leads to weaken the animals. 3. Presence of the adult worms in large numbers may block the intestine of the host and this may be fatal. 4. The infected animals lose their appetite for food.

Life Cycle of Ascaris vitulorum:

The adult females of A.vitulorum deposite eggs in the intestinal lumen of the host, which pass with feces to outside. The eggs are broadly ovoid provided with minute spines on the outer surface, The passes eggs in feces contain uncleaved zygotes. Further development of the eggs is occurred in the outer habitat according to the favourate conditions.

When an animal host has swallowed infested food with ascarid eggs, which normally contain second stage larvae, the outer covers are digested in the host intestine and the larvae are released. The released larvae burrow into the intestinal mucosa, penetrate a blood vessel moving in a strange route, via through heart; lungs, trachea, pharynx and then to intestine. During this route the larvae molt two times and undergo their final molt and become mature within the intestine. By feeding on digested food the larvae become larger and attain maturity. Coupling is then occurred and females deposite eggs.

Treatment and Prevention:

1- Using anthelmintic drugs help in expelling worms outside the infected animals. 2- Feeding animals on clean foods, not polluted with animal dunk.

Life Cycle of Ascaris Sp.

Adults typically live a year. Why is there this migratory phase?

Life Cycle of Ascaris Sp.

1. Adult males and females

live in ________
2. Female releases 200,000

eggs/day which are passed in the feces.

3. Eggs embryonate in warm,

moist shady soil and _________stages are passed within the egg.

Life Cycle of Ascaris Sp.

4- ________________ is the

infective stage and is ingested by a human. L3 hatches from egg in the duodenum, penetrates the duodenum, enters the circulation, travels through the heart, and reaches the
5-_____________ via the

pulmonary circulation.
6. In the lungs, the L3 molts

to the L4 stage.

Life Cycle of Ascaris Sp.

7. L4 break into the alveoli,

move up the respiratory tree to the pharynx, and _______

8. L4 move into the _______

where they molt to the adult stage. Become mature in 2 months. Migratory phase (time from ingestion of the L3 in egg until L4 reach the small intestine) is about 25 days.

Ex. 2-The Gapeworm disease, Syngamus trachea:

The is the gapeworm of poultry, found in the trachea of chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl and many species of wild birds. It is of particular importance in farm-raised pheasants. Syngamus is found throughout the world. The most distinctive feature of this nematode is that males and females are joined together in a state of permanent copulation forming a Y shape as seen in the image. Females are much larger (up to 2 omm long) than males (up to 6 mm long).

Life cycle:
The life cycle is complicated in both its preparasitic and parasitic phases. In the preparasitic phase L3s develop inside the eggs at which time they may hatch. Earthworms play an important role in the life cycle, serving as transport (paratenic) hosts.

Larvae have been shown to remain viable for more than three years encapsulated in earthworm muscles. Other invertebrates may also serve as paratenic hosts and these include terrestrial snails and slugs as well as the larvae of Musca domestica (the common house fly) the parasitic phase involves substantial migration in the definitive host to reach the predilection site. There is also evidence to suggest that strains of Syngamus trachea from wild bird reservoir hosts may be more infective for domestic birds if they first pass through an earthworm transport host rather than by direct infections via ingestion of L3s or eggs containing L3s.

Young birds are most severely affected with migration of larvae and adults through the lungs causing a severe pneumonia. Lymphoid nodules form at the point of attachment of the worms in the bronchi and trachea. Adult worms appear also to be blood suckers. Worms in the bronchi and trachea provoke a hemorrhagic tracheitis and bronchitis with formation of large quantities of mucus, plugging the air passages and, in severe cases, causing asphyxiation. Pheasants appear to be particularly susceptible to Syngamus infections resulting in mortality rates as high as 25% during outbreaks. Earthworm transport hosts are important factors in the transmission of Syngam us trachea where poultry and game birds are reared on soil. The longevity of L3s in earthworms (up to 3 years) is particularly important in perpetuating the infection from year to year.

A- Syngamus trachea- male and female in permanent copulation

B- Life cycle of the gapeworm (Syngamus trachea)

Plant parasitic nematodes:

Plant parasitic nematodes are world in distribution. Wherever there are plants, parasitic nematodes of some type are likely to be found in association with their roots. The kinds, population densities and degree of damage are the important differences when comparing one region with another, certain genera and species are restricted to certain soil types, climatic conditions and or presence of particular host. Nematode appear to be more prevalent and attain higher popularion densities in warmer regions of the world due to the prolonged feeding period, suitable soil temperature the wide range of hosts, no host specificity intensive crop cultivation due to increasing demands for food crops especially in developing countries.

The lower populations in the cooler regions are no doubt due to both, to the effect of cold temperature on nematode reproduction rates and to the limited feeding period brought by shorter growing seasons.

Basic means of plant nematode spread:

Plant parasitic nematodes are spread long distances by.
1. Moving plant parts, seeds, vegetative seed pieces (seedlings)

rootstocks (citrus grapes).

2. Trans porting of nematode infested soil adhering to implements

employed in tillage and infested organic manures.

3. Irrigation water.

Ex. 3- The root-knot nematodes(Meloidogyne spp.):

Root knot nematodes, Meloidogyne spp. are the most important and most cosmopolitan of nematode pests of the economic crops. They related to Fam. Heteroderidae; order, Tylenchida; class, Phasmidia. They are mainly distributed in light textured soil causing severe damage to the growing crops. As many as 40 species or more are recorded parasitizing several kinds of crops. In Egypt, Meloidogyne incognita, M. javanica, M. hapla, and M. arenaria are the most dominant species.

Symptoms of Meloidogyne spp. infection:

1) Formation of knots or galls on the root systems of the infected

plants. 2) The infected plants become stunted with yellowish and small-sized leaves. 3) The root system does not utilize water and nutrients giving wilting appearance to the infected plants. 4) Heavily infection causes in reducing the plant yield.

Life Cycle of Meloidogyne spp.:

The adult pear-shaped females which normally embedded in root tissue, lay eggs in gelatinous matrices. About 500 elongated egg are contained in each egg mass. The well developed egg contains first stage larva which molts within the egg to second stage larva. When the eggs hatch, the second stage larvae released to soil. The second stage larva has fusiform shape measuring 400 microns in length and 15 microns in width.

After hatching the second stage larvae, which considered the infective: stage, move actively till find. Rootless of a host plant. They readily penetrate the root tissue and start in feeding on cell contents. Once the nematode penetrates the tissues, it localizes in the feeding site and becomes a sedentary stage. Each ' larva feeds on the head surrounding cells, which known as giant cells. The giant cell which considered as a feeding site unit characterized by large size and Multinucleation. Normally the anterior end of each nematode has inserted within a feeding site consisted of 3-6 giant cells. Gradual change in the shape of the larvae to undergo pear- shaped by the fourth stage. Then the fourth molt occurs and the nematode sexes differentiated. The adult females have the pear-shape, while males shed from the fifth stage larvae with a vermiform shape. The females deposit eggs parthenogenetically in the gelatinous matrices. The males have no role in the nematode life cycle, as they either stay in roots or migrate to soil. The hatched larvae from deposited eggs migrate to soil to penetrate other rootlets repeating the nematode life cycle.

Treatment and Prevention:

1- Using crop rotation included non-hosts, to reduce the nematode

2- Cultivation of resistant crop cultivars. 3- Agricultural practices reduce, the nematode counts (like ploughing
and aeration of soil, solarization, flooding, weed eliminationetc.).

4- Using chemical control by means of systemic nematicides such as

Temik, Furadan, and Vydate.