Evert Villanueva-Sánchez, Samuel Ramírez-Alarcón, Clemente Villanueva-Verduzco, José Enrique Herbert-Pucheta


Background. Entomopathogenic nematodes (NEP) are found in all ecosystems. Currently, they are one of the most studied ecological alternatives for the biological control of insect pests. In Mexico, there are few reports of their presence in agricultural soils. Objective. To isolate and identify molecularly native specimens of entomopathogenic nematodes from soil samples collected in different prickly pear producing areas in Milpa Alta, Mexico City. Methodology. Isolations were obtained from soil samples using the technique of insect lure (Galleria mellonella or greater wax moth). Molecular techniques of the ribosomal region (ITS1+5.8S+ITS2) were performed for nematode identification. Results. Of the NEP isolates for the genus Steinernema, the phylogenetic analysis (ML; HKY) grouped the sequences of the isolates in the species Steinernema texanum, with 100 % similarity and 81 % similarity between isolates. For Heterorhabditis, the analysis (M; HKY) grouped the sequenced isolates in the species Heterorhabditis atacamensis with 97 % similarity. The results show that the NEP are widely distributed in the study region. Implications. The presence of these isolates in the cultivation of prickly pear (nopalitos) is important since they are a potential biological tool for pest management in the study zone. Conclusion. For the first time, the presence of Steinernema texanum and Heterorhabditis atacamensis is reported in soils cultivated with prickly pear in Milpa Alta, Mexico.


Opuntia ficus-indica L.; Steinernema; Heterorhabditis.

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