Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Watch These Microscopic Organisms Feast on a Dead Worm

A delightful meal for microbes.

When a worm can wriggle no more, its body begins to decompose and wither away. But through a microscope, one can see that the death of a worm attracts a fantastic feeding frenzy. In the short compilation clip above, microbes such as Coleps, Paramecia, and Spirostromum devour and break down the remnants of a dead worm.

The clip is summed up perfectly by New York City-based science teacher Evie Alexander: “Ah, death.”

Alexander posts a variety of videos and pictures of microscopic organisms to the Instagram account @scienceinnyc. Scrolling through the feed, you’ll come across slides of pig lung and menacing-looking hydras. This video captured by one of Alexander’s students shows a close-up look at the cycle of death—organic matter becoming a delicious meal for decomposer microbes.

The brown barrel-shaped Coleps weasel through the tissue, nibbling away, while a thin Spirostromum (which ironically looks and moves like a worm) roams in the dead wasteland. The feeding scene is a typical one found among decomposer microbes and demonstrates the interconnected relationships within ecosystems.   

Every day we track down a Video Wonder: an audiovisual offering that delights, inspires, and entertains. Have you encountered a video we should feature? Email ella@atlasobscura.com.