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iLabs: Dr Maggie Ray Provides Some Great Information on Vinegar Eels (Nematodes)

July 24, 2012

Dr Maggie Ray provided some GREAT information on Vinegar Eels that we wanted to highlight and share with all of you. So here are her comments in reply to the earlier post: iLabs: Visitor Question — How Long Will Vinegar Eels Live?

And to Dr. Ray, our very biggest thanks for the time you take to provide extra info for our blog entries!!

One Note:

For our readers, there is one term below  in the description under “distribution,” the word “ametabolic.”  Another term that describes this state is “Cryptobiosis.

Essentially what both of those terms really mean is that if the worms encounter bad environmental conditions, such as their water source drying up, etc. they can go into a form that will survive those difficult conditions, and they will stay that way indefinitely until things improve. During that time all metabolic functions stop.

Maggie Ray permalink
July 15, 2012 6:36 pm

Check out this link for the curious connection between fungi and nematodes.

Re: distribution:  Nematodes, along with rotifers and tardigrades can go into an ametabolic state. The particles that result can be blown around by the wind or carried in water. But research is not clear on whether this accounts for the wide distribution of these meiofauna. In tardigrades this stage is called a “tun,” I’m not sure if there is a special name for the rotifer or free living nematode forms. Nematodes curl up on themselves. There are some SEM images of this, I think, in most invertebrate textbooks. I’ll try to find you some links for these images.

Re: movement: the nematodes’ muscular structure is interesting…they don’t have any circular muscles, only longitudinal ones, so their movement is very distinctive…no getting thinner and thicker like earthworms do, only thrashing about, “whiplashing” by shortening and lengthening the fibers.

Rotifer muscles allow for both types of movement allowing them to get longer and shorter and also thicker and thinner.

Tardigrade movement is also distinct among these three because they have appendages and muscle structure which allows them to walk.

You can see all three of these animals when you look at the water that results from soaking and squeezing moss.

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