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Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 192017, 13 pages
Review Article

Nematode Parasites and Associates of Ants: Past and Present

Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

Received 14 August 2011; Accepted 9 October 2011

Academic Editor: Jean Paul Lachaud

Copyright © 2012 George Poinar Jr. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ants can serve as developmental, definitive, intermediate, or carrier hosts of a variety of nematodes. Parasitic ant nematodes include members of the families Mermithidae, Tetradonematidae, Allantonematidae, Seuratidae, Physalopteridae, Steinernematidae, and Heterorhabditidae. Those nematodes that are phoretically associated with ants, internally or externally, are represented by the Rhabditidae, Diplogastridae, and Panagrolaimidae. Fossils of mermithids, tetradonematids, allantonematids, and diplogastrids associated with ants show the evolutionary history of these relationships, some of which date back to the Eocene (40 mya).