Bethany Johnson-Kerner and William Ryu
Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
In unfavorable environmental conditions, the nematode C. elegans has a variety of survival strategies. One strategy is shown here: the worms climb up on objects, and use their tails as pivot points to thrash around. It is thought that this behavior aids in their dispersal, by the attachment to passing insects for example. Additionally, several upright nematodes may intertwine to form a “stalk,” or bundle. The stalk is dynamic, and can move, grow, and dissolve. This type of assembly is commonly observed in slime molds, but has never before been reported for C. elegans and its purpose remains mysterious.