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Hemocyte encapsulation reactions of infective juveniles of two Iranian isolates of the entomopathogenic nematodes, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar (Rhabditina: Heterorhabditidae) and Steinernema feltiae Filipjev (Tylenchina: Steinernematidae), were compared in the economic pest Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), and the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella L. (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). The former was a more responsive host than the latter and the hemocyte responses occurred sooner and more extensively. Complete encapsulation of some of the nematodes occurred by 4 h post injection for H. bacteriophora in both L. decemlineata and G. mellonella, and by 2 h pi for S. feltiae in L. decemlineata. The percentage of encapsulation from 24 h to 72 h pi in L. decemlineata was 86.2% for S. feltiae and 39% for H. bacteriophora. In G. mellonella there were no encapsulation or melanization responses against S. feltiae, whereas when H. bacteriophora was encapsulated and melanized (16.7%) the encapsulation level was lower than in L. decemlineata. This study may contribute to effectively selecting entomopathogenic nematode species active against significant economic pests based on the latter's cellular immune response.
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