Associate Professor Takuma Sugi of Hiroshima University, Associate Professor Katsuhiko Sato of Hokkaido University, and Professor Toshiyuki Nakagaki of Hokkaido University discovered that nematodes, which have no arms, legs, or wings, use electrostatic attraction to move long distances.
C. elegans are found all over the world, despite being tiny creatures with no limbs or wings, just less than a millimeter in length.Past research has revealed that nematodes spread their seeds around the world by attaching themselves to the body surfaces of other animals and migrating by “piggyback behavior.”However, it was unclear how the tiny nematodes transferred to insects and animals.
In 2019, Associate Professor Sugi was involved in a large-scale breeding of nematodes for another research project that gave him the idea.For some reason, a large number of nematodes, which should have been placed on the agar medium in the petri dish, migrated to the lid of the petri dish after a few seconds.It should be almost impossible for a small nematode with no arms, legs, or wings to move from the medium of a petri dish to the lid, which is more than 30 mm away, within a few seconds.Therefore, when observing them under an optical microscope, they discovered that the nematodes on the agar medium suddenly disappeared, and the next moment they appeared on the lid of the Petri dish.
As a result of discussions on this teleportation, the research group came to the conclusion that ``charged nematodes migrate to the petri dish lid using the electrostatic attraction of the lid''.Even more surprisingly, a mass movement was confirmed in which one individual nematode lifted up to nearly 1 nematodes and jumped together with the group.
Based on this discovery, as a result of bringing charged bumblebees close to nematodes in order to verify their piggybacking behavior, it was confirmed that the nematodes collectively jumped in space and jumped on the bees.In other words, nematodes are considered to be charged by themselves and move by jumping on statically charged insects in groups by using an electric field.
In this way, since small creatures such as nematodes are easily charged, it is expected that new discoveries will be made by focusing on electrical interactions in future research on the world of small creatures.