The pine wood nematode (PWN) Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Steiner & Buhrer, 1934) Nickle, 1970 is the agent responsible for pine wilt disease (PWD). This nematode has been killing native pine trees (Pinus densiflora, P. thunbergii, P. luchuensis) in Japan since the early twentieth century. It is the number one forest pest in Japan and has been spread to China, Korea, Portugal, and Spain. The nematode is native to North America (Canada, USA, Mexico) and is thought to have been carried to Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century on timber exports. Up to now, the genus Bursaphelenchus Fuchs, 1937 comprises nearly 120 species (14 groups). Around 14 species very similar to B. xylophilus are put together and named the xylophilus group. This chapter presents the grouping history, subspecies or genetic types in species of the xylophilus group, and an identification key for 14 species of the xylophilus group, ITS-RFLP identification, and other molecular identification methods are also discussed.
Part of the book: Advances in Plant Pathology