Rev 11/17/2022

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        Caenorhabditis Dougherty (1955).

The genus name is derived from Greek and Latin (Caeno, recent; rhabditis, rod-like).


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Morphology and Anatomy:


Body size range for the species of this genus in the database - Click:
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Biology and Ecology:


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Life Cycle:

For Ecophysiological Parameters for this genus, click 

Eggs may hatch within the bodies of older females.  The females then die and the juveniles consume bacteria decomposing the female body.  This has been thought to occur when the vaginal muscles are no longer strong enough to eject the eggs and is termed endotokia matricida due to the resultant death of the female (Seurat, 1914).  In the Caenorhabditis elegans literature, the phenomenon has been termed "bagging" .  The hypothesis has been advanced  that intra-uterine hatch is a part of the C. elegans life cycle, and complements androdioecy ( the existence of a hermaphrodite population and a male population) and the dauer  (a resistant or enduring stage) stage to enhance progeny survival and dispersal under stress. Consequently, per the hypothesis,  matricidal hatching, has been perpetuated in C. elegans through evolutionary time as it confers a survival advantage when resources are scarce or conditions unfavorable (Chen & Caswell-Chen, 2003).


Endotokia Matricida, "Bagging", in a rhabditid nematode.  Juveniles consume the bacteria that are decomposing the adult body.
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Chen J.; Caswell-Chen E.P. 2003. Why Caenorhabditis elegans adults sacrifice their bodies to progeny. Nematology 5:641-645.

Seurat, L.G. 1914. Sur un cas d�endotokie matricide chez un oxyure. Comptes-Rendues de la Soci�t� de Biologie, 76:850-853.

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Copyright © 1999 by Howard Ferris.
Revised: November 17, 2022.