Desmodora is a marine nematode which commonly occurs along the Dutch coast and also penetrates brackish water habitats. One of the most remarkable characteristics of Desmodora are the paired spiral shaped organs at both sides of the mouth. We can only speculate regarding the function of these organs but it is generally assumed that these organs can trace chemical stimuli, comparable to the human nose. For plant parasites which feed on a single plant species, it is important that they can distinguish for example potato roots from other roots. Desmodora feeds on a wide range of organisms, it is an interesting question why these lateral organs in Desmodora are much more developed than in plant parasites which feed on a single host.
(Click on the pictures for an enlargement, © Wageningen University & Research, Laboratory of Nematology/Pictures: Hanny van Megen)