Roundworms staged a flash mob in a drop of water: video

(ORDO NEWS) — Acetic eels showed an amazing “dance”.

While studying acetic eels ( Turbatrix aceti ), a team of scientists at the University of Rochester in New York discovered strange behavioral patterns.

These roundworms from the Panagrolaimus family , 1-2 mm long, are found in the environment where the fermentation process takes place – they feed on acetic acid bacteria. The scientists placed thousands of T. aceti in a drop for observation under a microscope.

At first, the nematodes moved chaotically, but after about an hour the situation began to change. Some individuals began to gather in the middle, while others circled around the edges. After each nematode found a place for itself, they began to move synchronously, but with their own rhythm.

“This is a combination of two different types of synchronization: movement and oscillation,” lead author of the study Anton Peshkov.

And then scientists waited another surprise. When the swarm of eels swam in unison, it rested on the edge of the drop, temporarily preventing it from shrinking during evaporation.

To do this, the nematodes used a force equal to 1 micronewton: with such an ability, roundworms would be able to move objects hundreds of times their own weight.

Explanations researchers have not found such actions and, perhaps, will never find them. The nematodes are too small to observe in the wild, and laboratory studies are not representative, as captive animals may behave differently.

Peshkov suggests that vinegar eels may clump together to minimize their bodies’ exposure to aggressive free radicals in the water, or maybe they create streams to move nutrients around.

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