In the Netherlands, the genus Acrobeles is represented by three species. It are relatively small nematodes, never exceeding one mm in length, which are immediately recognized – even at a low magnification – by the characteristic outgrowths on their head. The genus can hardly be misidentified. Males are quite common. Acrobeles feeds on bacteria; the outgrowths on the anterior end might be used to scrape bacteria from sand grains, although the “probolae” cannot move independently. Another theory is that the probolae are used to filter water and that the particles are caught by the outgrowths. Acrobeles is restricted to sandy soils; in clayey soils with much smaller particles the probolae seem to be less functional.
Within the genus Acrobeles, some species occur with a split or double cuticula. For these species, Andrássy had to propose a new name; he proposed the genus Seleborca! Acrobeles ◄► Seleborca.
(Source: European Atlas of Soil Biodiversity|Section2: Organisms of the Soil)
(Click on the pictures for an enlargement, © Wageningen University & Research, Laboratory of Nematology/Pictures: Hanny van Megen)