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Extensive research conducted in the laboratory of Ralf Sommer, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tubingen, Germany.
Pristionchus spp. have cellulases, presumably through horizontal transfer from microbes (Smant, 1998).
Unlike the rhabditids, Pristionchus and other diplogasterids do not have a grinder in the basal bulb of the esophagus, so there are living bacteria in the intestine.
The mouth also differs from the tubular stoma of the rhabditids and has two forms, with teeth (eurystomatous) or without teeth (stenostomatous). Tooth formation is triggered by starvation, similar to the dauer trigger in C. elegans. Eurystomatous forms are able to feed on fungi.
Dauerlarva formation occurs under conditions of high nematode density and low food availability, similar to C. elegans.
The nematode–insect association, in which nematodes infest the surface of insects and wait for their hosts to die before resuming development on the cadaver, is known as necromeny (Hong et al, 2008). Pristionchus nematodes infest live insects but do not noticeably reduce the fitness of their hosts; but consume the microorganisms on the decomposing carcass after death of the insect.
Developmental phenomena such as formation of dauer larvae formation, and different forms of the mouth can be influenced by changes in temperature and food availability to the host insect. (Hong et al., 2008).