Here's a worm that's got itself into a lot of trouble. Although it
looks pretty big in the picture, we are looking at it through a
microscope. So it isn't a common or garden earthworm after all, but a
tiny colourless threadworm, about a millimetre long, that also lives
in the soil. As you can see, it has been caught in two traps set by a
fungus. This fungus is one of many which add protein to their diet by
catching tasty little threadworms (whose proper name is nematodes: 'nem-a-toads').
The fungi have evolved many different ways of catching these
worms: this picture shows the most spectacular method. The fungus
makes little rings, just big enough for a nematode to crawl through.
When the unsuspecting worm touches the inside of the ring, the trap
is sprung. The ring blows up suddenly like a balloon, and grabs the
worm so tightly that it can't escape, no matter how much it wriggles.
Now the fungus has plenty of time to grow into the worm and digest
Score: Fungi 1, Nematodes 0
To Mycologue order form
Back to Mycologue Publications Home Page
URL of this website: http://www.mycolog.com
© Mycologue Publications 2000-2002