Wilsonema otophorum

A handful of soil usually contains more than thousand nematodes including plant parasites, fungal feeders, predators, omnivores and a number feeding on bacteria. One of the most remarkable species, feeding on bacteria, is Wilsonema otophorum: a small nematode, shorter than half a millimeter. This is known to be a cosmopolite, but the question remains whether records from other continents refer to the same species. Wilsonema, just as most of the other nematode species, has six lips. The dorsal and ventral lips are grown out to two feather-like structures which probably play a role in gathering food. Because of these remarkable lips, Wilsonema is easily recognized. It is a common species in sandy soils, even in the most acid sandy soils, and easily withstands dehydration.  

More pictures of Wilsonema otophorum:

Wilsonema otophorum
Wilsonema otophorum

Wilsonema otophorum: male en female
Wilsonema otophorum: male en female

Wilsonema otophorum: amphids, setae
Wilsonema otophorum: amphids, setae

Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels glad, oesophagus
Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels glad, oesophagus

Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels, labial probolae, oral cavity
Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels, labial probolae, oral cavity

Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels, labial probolae, oral cavity
Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels, labial probolae, oral cavity

Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels, labial probolae, oral cavity
Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels, labial probolae, oral cavity

Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels, labial probolae, oral cavity
Wilsonema otophorum: halsvleugels, labial probolae, oral cavity

Wilsonema otophorum: labial probolae
Wilsonema otophorum: labial probolae

Wilsonema otophorum: vulva
Wilsonema otophorum: vulva

Wilsonema otophorum: anal opening
Wilsonema otophorum: anal opening

Wilsonema otophorum: tail (male)
Wilsonema otophorum: tail (male)

Wilsonema otophorum: tail
Wilsonema otophorum: tail

(Click on the pictures for an enlargement, © Laboratory of Nematology/Pictures: Hanny van Megen)