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Criconematina are nematodes, or unsegmented roundworms, belonging to the group Tylenchida. Tylenchids are plant parasitic nematodes with a hardened mouth piece which they use to puncture plant cells, and many tylenchids cause damage to agricultural crops. This is especially true in monocultures where their population numbers can build up to high levels when favoured crops are replanted in quick succession.
Criconematina are microscopic and transparent nematodes, generally feeding on tree roots. Their damage is restricted to commercial orchards planted with infested plant material or replanted in infested soil. In their native habitat they generally cause no damage.
There are 68 species of criconematids known to be present in New Zealand, and 47 of these are endemic. This fauna covers all 68 species, 16 of which are new to science, and includes detailed descriptions for the female of each species, including morphometrics and illustrations, supplemented by SEM micrographs of morphological details. Details of males and juveniles are given if available.
A diagnosis is presented to distinguish each species from other New Zealand species. Locations and plant species associations of each species are indicated and the significance of each species as a taxonomic unit is commented upon. Lists of nematode species present at various localities and associated with individual plant species are given in appendices, and keys to all taxa covered are provided.
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