A putative “entomoparasitic adult form” of Bursaphelenchus luxuriosae was found in the tracheal system and body cavity of its cerambycid vector beetle, Acalolepta luxuriosa. Morphologically, this form is intermediate between the usual mycophagous adult and the phoretic dauer juvenile, i.e., it shares the primary and secondary reproductive features with the mycophagous phase but shares a degenerate digestive tract with JIV dauer juveniles. In addition, the “parasitic form” has specialized characters relative to the mycophagous phase analogous to dicyclic Hexatylina, e.g., vacuole-like dots (assumed to be sensory organs) at the anterior end, a very long vulval flap, conical female tail, and elongated male spicules. The presence of insect-parasitic juveniles has been reported in several Bursaphelenchus species, but this is the first confirmed report of a putative “entomoparasitic adult form” in the genus. Thus, the “parasitic adult form” of B. luxuriosae is hypothesized to be an autapomorphic character of this species in the genus. The physiological impact of the parasitism on the host beetle is assumed to be weak because no clear symptoms were observed in the infested beetles. Also, no nematode eggs or propagative juveniles were observed in the beetle host, suggesting that more research is needed to confirm the nature of the association (parasitic vs. endophoretic).

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