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Hunting Nematodes in the Pine Forests of Northern Greece: A Preliminary Overview after One Year of Surveys
* 1, 2 , 1 , 3 , 1
1  Forest Research Institute, Hellenic Agricultural Organization Demeter, Vassilika 57006, Thessaloniki, Greece
2  Zoology Department, School of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece
3  Department of Entomology and Agricultural Zoology, Benaki Phytopathological Institute, Kifissia 14561, Athens, Greece
Academic Editor: Nickolas Kavallieratos

Published: 01 July 2021 by MDPI in The 1st International Electronic Conference on Entomology session Posters

The pine wood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Parasitaphelenchidae, Nematoda) is one of the most important pathogens of high ecological and economic importance worldwide, causing the Pine Wilt Disease. Following the routes and pathways employed by the international trade, B. xylophilus has managed to expand beyond its natural range with Wood Packaging Material (WPM) and has soon become one of the most notorious quarantine organisms. To prevent its further expansion, national survey programs are examining samples from pine and other coniferous trees showing suspicious symptoms that could potentially be attributed to B. xylophilus. In this direction, 45 wood samples were collected from trees located at nine regions of Northern and Central Greece. Nematode extraction was carried out using a modified Baermann funnel technique, and identification was based on their morphological traits. Even though B. xylophilus was not retrieved from any of these samples, four other species of the Bursaphelenchus genus were identified. In addition to them, other taxa that contain saprophytic, predatory and entomophilic nematodes were also recorded. It is thus evident that beside preventing the introduction of B. xylophilus in Greece, the national survey program can substantially contribute to increase our knowledge on the nematode species inhabiting pine trees in Greece.

Keywords: Bursaphelenchus spp.; national survey program; nematodes; conifers; Greece