Wilsonema Cobb, 1913
A handful of soil usually contains more than thousand nematodes including plant parasites, fungal feeders, predators and bacteria feeders. One of the most remarkable taxa, feeding on bacteria, is Wilsonema sp., small nematodes, shorter than half a millimeter. This are known to be terricolous and cosmopolite. 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 genus in sandy soils, even in the most acid sandy soils, and easily withstands dehydration. Two species, Wilsonema otophorum (de Man, 1880) Cobb, 1913 and Wilsonema schuurmansstekhoveni (De Coninck, 1931) Zell, 1985 can be found in Europe.
More pictures of Wilsonema otophorum:
More pictures of Wilsonema schuurmansstekhoveni:
(Click on the pictures for an enlargement, © Wageningen University & Research, Laboratory of Nematology/Pictures: Hanny van Megen)