The RFLP technique was used to establish a reliable diagnostic method for 18 Pratylenchus species: Pratylenchus agilis, P. bolivianus, P. brachyurus, P. coffeae, P. crenatus, P.fallax, P. goodeyi, P. loosi, P. mediterraneus, P. neglectus, P. penstrans P. pratensis, P. pseudocoffeae, P. scribneri, P. subranjani, P. thornei, P. vulnus and P. zeae. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified the ITS regions from all species and populations examined and revealed large differences in length, ranging in size from approximately 900 to 1250 bp. The rDNA fragments were digested with five restriction enzymes (CfoI, DdeI, HindIII, HpaII, and PstI). All Pratylenchus species can be differentiated from each other by a combination of at least two enzymes. CfoI differentiated all nematode species with the exception of P. fallax, P. penetrans and P. pseudocoffeae. P. fallax was further separated by a DdeI restriction, and P. pseudocoffeae by a PstI digestion. Intraspecific RFLP were observed. Upon CfoI, DdeI, HindIII, or HpaII digestion, it was possible to separate the three P. coffeae populations studied from each other.