Kate Solbakk


Nematode trapped by fungus

A root-feeding nematode, trapped by a predatory fungus before it had a chance to puncture the root.

Nematodes use chemical sensing to find food. This fungus lives on plant roots and grows ring-shaped structures, which emit chemicals that lure hungry nematodes toward them. Once a nematode finds its way into a ring, the cells swell up like balloons and form a tight collar. The nematode dies, and fungal hyphae then grow into its body to digest it. It's a nice demonstration of how a diverse, living soil ecosystem can keep itself in balance.

This drawing was featured in an episode of Journey to the Microcosmos about nematode-trapping fungi. Check out the video here.

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