Acrobeloides bodenheimeri




Rev 01/13/2024

  Classification Biology and Ecology
Morphology and Anatomy Life Cycle
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      Acrobeloides bodenheimeri (Steiner, 1936) Thorne, 1937

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Morphology and Anatomy:


photomicrographs by Howard Ferris and Sam Woo, UC Davis


  • Monodelphic, prodelphic, with or without a double flexure at post-vulval region;
  • Spermatheca well developed; uterus very long,
  • Post-vulval uterine sac 0.9-1.9 times body width; vagina straight or slightly arcuate, 26-44% of body diam.;
  • Rectum distinct, shorter than anal body diam with three unicellular glands at junction with the intestine.
  • Tail straight, conoid, truncated to slightly rounded terminus.
  • Phasmids distinct, pore-like, at 46-58% of tail length.


  • Mmonorchic  testis ventrally reflexed.
  •  Genital papillae in seven pairs, two pairs pre-cloacal and five pairs post-cloacal
  •  Phasmids at 45-64% of tail length.
  • Spicules long, broad and arcuate, larger than gubernaculum, with manubrium reduced, ventrally bent, rounded-elongate, calamus conoid and lamina slightly ventral curved with an angular dorsal hump,
  •  Gubernaculum with manubrium-corpus almost straight, well-developed crura with acute tip.
  •  Tail conoid, ventrally curved, with blunt terminus.

Ref: Bhat et al., 2023


Reported median body size for this species (Length mm; width micrometers; weight micrograms) - Click:


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Reported from soils world wide, also in phoretic and other assocaitions with arthropods (see genus description)

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Biology and Ecology:


Like other bacterivore nematodes, A. bodenheimeri spreads bacteria to new resources.  At low nematode population levels, the beneficial effect of this "bacterial farming" on the bacterial population may exceed the negative effect of consumption of bacteria by the nematodes.  "Bacterial farming" is the product of surface contamination of nematodes by bacteria and up to 40% survival of passage through the digestive tract by bacteria.  One might argue that the phenomenon is mutually beneficial to both the bacteria (increased access to resources) and the nematodes (increased availability of food).  If it were not mutually beneficial, there might be selection for more efficient digestion of bacteria by the nematodes.

Petri dishes were seeded with a bacterial colony in the center and with 0, 5 or 10 individuals of Acrobeloides bodenheimeri.  Bacterial colony development was photographed after 48 hours.

Photograph by Shenglei Fu.

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Life Cycle:


Ecophysiological Parameters:

For Ecophysiological Parameters for this species, click If species level data are not available, click for genus level parameters
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Ecosystem Functions and Services:

Important contributions of Acrobeloides spp. to soil nutrient cycling and mineralization of organic forms of nitrogen are well documented (Anderson et al., 1981; Ferris et al., 1995 1997)

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Anderson, R.V., Coleman, D.C., Cole, C.V. & Elliott, E.T. 198). Effect of the nematodes Acrobeloides sp. and Mesodiplogaster lheritieri on substrate utilization and nitrogen and phosphorous mineralization in soil. Ecology 62:549-555/

Bhat, A.H., Loulou, A., Abolafia, J., Machado, R.A.R., Kallel, S. 2023. Comparative morphological and molecular analyses of Acrobeloides bodenheimeri and A. tricornis Cobb, 1924 (Rhabditida, Cephalobidae) from Tunisia. Nematology 25: 207-226

Ferris, H., R. C. Venette and S. S. Lau.  1997.  Population energetics of bacterial-feeding nematodes:  Carbon and Nitrogen budgets.  Soil Biology and Biochemistry 29:1183-1194.

Ferris, H., R. C. Venette, H. R. van der Meulen and S. S. Lau1998.  Nitrogen mineralization by bacterial-feeding nematodes:  verification and measurement.  Plant and Soil 203:159-171. 


Steiner, G. 1936. Opuscula miscellanea nematologica, IV. Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington 3:74-80.

Thorne, G. 1937. A revision of the nematode family Cephalobidae Chitwood and Chitwood, 1934. Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington 4:1-16

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Copyright © 1999 by Howard Ferris.
Revised: January 13, 2024.