The nematophagous fungi are soil inhabitants found in most soil types from tropical to arctic areas of the planet, although they are most frequent in organic soils. One to five species of nematophagous fungi are usually recovered from a soil sample. Their abundance varies from 1.8-150 propagules per gram of soil (Persmark et al. 1996). These variations are due to "environmental factors," e.g., soil type, organic matter, water content, temperature, and presence of nematode hosts. Since most nematophagous fungi are facultative parasites they also have the capacity to live saprophytically on dead organic matter in soil. Therefore, the soil should obviously be seen as the ultimate sink of nematophagous fungi. The nematophagous fungi, in spite of their saprophytic ability, are not especially good competitors in soil. Therefore, the capacity to invade other organisms—nematodes, other fungi, plant roots—is important for their survival in the soil. The interactions with these potential hosts will be discussed in the following sections.
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