Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita, M. arenaria, and M. javanica) cause severe damage to watermelon and resistance has not been identified in any watermelon cultivar. In greenhouse tests, we evaluated 265 U.S. plant introductions (PIs) for nematode resistance (based on root galling and nematode reproduction), and identified 22 PIs of Citrullus lanatus var. citroides as moderately resistant to M. arenaria race 1. In subsequent tests, these 22 PIs exhibited low to moderate resistance to M. incognita race 3 and M. arenaria race 2. Three watermelon (C. lanatus var. lanatus) cultivars (Charleston Gray, Crimson Sweet, and Dixie Lee), three C. colocynthis PIs, and four C. lanatus var. citroides PIs, all previously shown to be susceptible to M. arenaria race 1, were susceptible to M. incognita race 3 and M. arenaria race 2. The C. lanatus var. citroides PIs that are most resistant to both M. incognita and M. arenaria should be useful sources of resistance for developing root-knot nematode resistant watermelon cultivars.
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