The pathogenicity and reproductive fitness of Pratylenchus coffeae and Radopholus arabocoffeae from Vietnam on coffee (Coffea arabica) seedlings cv. Catimor were evaluated in greenhouse experiments. The effect of initial population densities (Pi = 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256 nematodes per cm(3) soil) was studied for both species at different days after inoculation (dai). The data were adjusted to the Seinhorst damage model Y = m + (1-m).z(Pi-T). Tolerance limit (T) for P. coffeae was zero for the height and the diameter of the coffee plants. For the diameter, the T-value for R. arabocoffeae was 25.6 for 30 and 60 dai and 12.8 for 90 and 120 dai. After 4 months T was zero. The low tolerance limits indicate that Arabica coffee is highly intolerant to both nematode species. At the end of the experiment (180 dai), all plants were infected and most were dead when inoculated with R. arabocoffeae at initial densities of 32, 64, 128 and 256 nematodes/cm(3) soil. For P. coffeae plant death was already observed at the lowest inoculation densities. Growth of coffee was reduced at all inoculation levels for both species. Pratylenchus coffeae and R. arabocoffeae caused intense darkening of the roots, leaf chlorosis and a strong reduction of root and shoot growth. It was observed that P. coffeae mainly destroyed lateral roots rather than tap roots, whereas R. arabocoffeae reduced tap root length rather than the lateral roots. At the lowest inoculum densities, the reproduction factor of P. coffeae was 2.38 and 2.01 for R. arabocoffeae, indicating that arabica coffee is a host for both species. Plant growth as expressed by shoot height and shoot and root weight measured 60 dai was negatively correlated with nematode (both species) density as expressed by the geometric mean of nematode numbers at 30 and 60 dai.