The root-knot nematode Meloidogyne ethiopica Whitehead originally described from Tanzania is also distributed in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia (3). Although this species is a relatively unknown root-knot nematode, M. ethiopica parasitizes several economical important crops, such as tomato, cowpea, bean, cabbage, pepper, pumpkin, tobacco, lettuce, and soybean (4). This species can be morphologically confused with M. incognita (Kofoid & White), and therefore, is probably easily overlooked (1). Recently, characteristic esterase isozyme patterns were described for this species, which provide a more reliable identification (2). In October 2003, Lycopersicum esculentum cv. Belle plants with large root-galls were observed in a greenhouse at Dornberk, Slovenia, which were identified as an unknown root-knot nematode within the M. incognita group. Subsequent sampling revealed infestation of all tomato plants within this greenhouse with obvious aboveground symptoms of stunting and wilting. Additional morphological and isozyme studies identified this root-knot nematode as M. ethiopica. The identification was based on female, male, and second-stage juvenile morphology and malate dehydrogenase and esterase isozyme phenotypes from young egg-laying females isolated from 20 tomato plants and compared with a culture of M. ethiopica from Africa. To our knowledge, this is not only the first report of M. ethiopica in Slovenia, but also the first report of this species in Europe.
References: (1) A. M. Golden. Fundam. Appl. Nematol. 15:189, 1992. (2) W. Mandefro and K. Dagne. Afr. J. Plant Prot. 10:39, 2000. (3) A. G. Whitehead. Trans. Zool. Soc. Lond. 31:263, 1968. (4) A. G. Whitehead. Nematologica 15:315, 1969.