Watch These Microscopic Organisms Feast on a Dead Worm
A delightful meal for microbes.
Ah death. Here are a few clips of a feeding frenzy occurring around a dead worm. Microorganisms included in this video: coleps ciliates, paramecium, small unknown ciliates, and a lone spirostomum. One of my students found this crazy scene and we used it to talk about different ecosystem relationships (predation, competition, commensalism, etc). . . . #science #biology #microbiology #microscope #protozoan #coleps #ciliate #spirostomum #paramecium #pondlife #worm #death #ecosystem #environmental #class #decomposers #teaching #nyc #centralpark #food
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.
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