Date of this Version
Published in Nematology 16 (2014), pp. 1139-1151. DOI: 10.1163/15685411-00002839
Ficotylus laselvae n. sp. was recovered from under the bracts of figs (syconia) of Ficus colubrinae from La Selva, Costa Rica, during a survey of nematode rainforest biodiversity and is described herein. This is only the second report of an association between the nematode suborder Tylenchina and the sycones of figs. Previous reports of most nematode associates of the sycones of figs have been from the lumen and involved transmission by female fig wasp pollinators (Agaonidae) during pollination/oviposition (e.g., Schistonchus and Parasitodiplogaster spp.). The association between F. laselvae n. sp. and Ficus colubrinae may involve an invertebrate host, but none was recovered from dissections of the bracts during this study. It is also possible that this is a rainforest understory nematode that feeds ectoparasitically in protected areas on the aerial parts of F. colubrinae. Molecular analysis using near-full-length sequences of the small subunit (SSU) rRNA and D2-D3 expansion segments of the large subunit (LSU) rRNA genes of Ficotylus laselvae n. sp. suggests that it is a member of the suborder Tylenchina (infraorder: Tylenchomorpha; family: Anguinidae) and that the closest sequenced species is F. congestae from the lumen of sycones of Ficus congesta from Queensland, Australia. Although both nematode species are associated with figs, they are morphologically divergent, suggesting that the different micro-niches that they fill provide different selective pressures for evolution of differing morphological characters or they represent different life history morphotypes of a dicyclic genus.