Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) in the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae occur naturally in the soil and are produced commercially for the management of soil-dwelling pests. EPN infected cadavers also represent a potential resource for other soil organisms. We examined the short-term (24 h) response in abundance, diversity and community composition of localized soil microinvertebrates to the presence of EPN-infected insect cadavers in no-till and conventional-till maize. We hypothesized that the response of soil microinvertebrates to the EPN-infected cadavers would vary by soil management practices and EPN species. We expected to observe greater numbers and diversity of arthropods in no-till compared with conventional-till soil, and in the vicinity of steinernematid-infected insect cadavers compare to what would be found in the vicinity of heterorhabditid-infected cadavers. 45,606 invertebrates were collected and identified to 134 morphotaxa. Tillage regime accounted for the majority of the variation observed (84.6%), whereas nematode treatment accounted for 7.5%. Taxonomic richness of invertebrates was greater in treatments with Steinernema carpocapsae-infected cadavers than with Heterorhabditis bacteriophora-infected cadavers. Some invertebrates increased in abundance where EPN were applied whereas others decreased, regardless of tillage practice. Applications of Galleria cadavers infected with steinernematids elicited positive responses from two mite taxa, Galumnidae and Scheloribates spp., while negative responses were elicited from three mite (Histiostomatidae, Scheloribates spp., Eupodes spp.), taxa and Entomobryidae (Collembola) in response to applications of Heterorhabditis-infected cadavers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science