Motility of small nematodes in wet granular media

G. Juarez, K. Lu, J. Sznitman, P. E. Arratia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The motility of the worm nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is investigated in shallow, wet granular media as a function of particle size dispersity and area density (ø). Surprisingly, we find that the nematode's propulsion speed is enhanced by the presence of particles in a fluid and is nearly independent of area density. The undulation speed, often used to differentiate locomotion gaits, is significantly affected by the bulk material properties of wet mono- and polydisperse granular media for ø ≥ 0.55. This difference is characterized by a change in the nematode's waveform from swimming to crawling in dense polydisperse media only. This change highlights the organism's adaptability to subtle differences in local structure and response between monodisperse and polydisperse media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number44002
JournalEurophysics Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Motility of small nematodes in wet granular media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this