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On strawberry, A. fragariae causes malformations of the shoot such as twisting and puckering of leaves, discoloured areas with a hard and rough surface, undersized leaves with crinkled edges, reddening of petioles, short internodes of runners, reduced flower trusses with only one or two flowers and death of the crown bud (Dicker, 1948; Franklin, 1950; Iyatomi and Nishizawa, 1951; Ogilvie and Thompson, 1936). Ectoparasitic feeding on folded crown and runner buds causes small dry, brown feeding areas which can be seen on expanded leaves usually near the mid-rib; occasionally the nematodes are found in strawberry fruit pulp (Tacconi, 1972). Endoparasitic feeding within leaf tissue produces typical leaf-blotch symptoms. The strawberry disease referred to as Spring dwarf, Spring crimp and Red plant, may be due wholly or partly to A. fragariae; sometimes these symptoms could be due to other nematodes (A. ritzemabosi, Ditylenchus dipsaci) or caused by bacteria or frost.
On flowering plant leaves, the feeding areas appear as irregular, water-soaked patches later turning brown, violet or purple. Stokes (1979) describes leaf lesions and bud abnormalities on ornamental plants caused by A. fragariae in Florida, USA. The nematode causes die-back disease of lilies, in which leaves, flower buds and fruits turn brown and die. Decay of buds of tree peonies in Japan due to A. fragariae has been reported (Saigusa, 1968). Symptoms on Philippine violet (Barleria cristata) begin as chlorotic vein delineated areas which later change to light brown, then dark brown and finally black (Lehman and Miller, 1988).
In British ferneries, leaf-blotch symptoms are well marked during winter when vegetative growth is lowest (Goodey, 1933). Typical water-soaked stripes on fronds of Western Sword-fern (Polystichum munitum) are seen during February-March in Oregon, USA, and the stripes turn brown in summer when the fern forest dries out (Sandeno and Jensen, 1962). On ferns, for example, Pteris spp., leaf blotches or water-soaked areas occur in stripes, often chevron-like. It causes severe deformity of the fronds of Sphaeropteris cooperis.
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A. fragariae and A. ritzemabosi reduced yield of strawberry by up to 60% in nematode-infested areas in Ireland (Duggan, 1969). A. fragariae is involved in strawberry decline in France (Clerjeau et al., 1983).
The weight of the crown of strawberry, cv. Senga Sengana, plants was reduced by 51% by A. ritzemabosi and 41% by A. fragariae. Fruit yield in the first year was reduced, owing largely to declines in fruit number, by 65% and 54%, respectively, by the two species. The number of runners was reduced by 25-30% by A. ritzemabosi, but only by 11-15% by A. fragariae. Damage to the plant crowns and reduced yield were related to population density in winter and spring but reduced runner production was due to the summer population density (Bohmer, 1981).
The susceptible strawberry cultivars Macherauchs frühernte and Cambridge favourite showed 65% and 82% reduction in yield, respectively, after 2 years infestation in Poland (Szczygiel, 1963)
Heavy losses of bird's-nest fern (Asplenium nidus) have been recorded in California, USA (Ark and Tompkins, 1946).
A foliar blight of anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum) in Hawaii which is often lethal in young plants was found to be caused by Aphelenchoides fragariae. The nematode also invades and destroys anthurium seeds (Hunter et al., 1974).