A pattern given by nature: A 'regular hexagonal pattern' was found in a plant-parasitic nematode worm
Fri, 07 Dec 2012 06:21 UTC
The female nematode worm of Meloidoderita salina deposits its eggs in two different structures. One of them is called egg mass which is an external gelatinous matrix, the other one is a cystoid, which is a swollen uterus containing some eggs. Cystoid are harder and stronger than gelatinous matrix. On the surface of the cystoids of Meloidoderita salina, nematologists observed a specific and unique hexagonal beaded pattern.
"This discovery is probably the first observation of a real hexagonal pattern in the group of nematode worms so far, and further research is needed to find out its unknown origin", said Prof. Dr. Gerrit Karssen, one of the senior members of the team.
A tidal salt marsh, a transition zone between land and water, is a highly divers ecosystem. In MSMB, where this new nematode species was found, a large part of its area are tidal salt marshes in which a high number of ecological studies were done, although nematode worms have been mostly neglected.
Sea purslane which is a halophytic plant (is found in salt waters). As a vegetable, the leaves of the plant have a salty, spinach-like taste and are edible raw or cooked and are also served in restaurants.
The nematologists who described this nematode worm predict it is likely to find Meloidoderita salina on other halophytic plants, grown in similar salt marsh areas.
Ashrafi S, Mugniéry D, van Heese EYJ, van Aelst AC, Helder J, Karssen G (2012) Description of Meloidoderita salina sp. n. (Nematoda, Sphaeronematidae) from a micro-tidal salt marsh at Mont-Saint-Michel Bay in France. ZooKeys 249: 1 - 26. doi:10.3897/zookeys.249.4138
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