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How and why a parasitic nematode jumps


Jumping is an unusual behaviour performed by some nematode species1, but has been seen only in the infective or phoretic stages of species associated with insects1,3. This correlation suggests that jumping may be involved in the location of insect hosts. We find that infective juveniles of the insect-parasitic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae, when standing on their tails, are triggered to jump by the presence of host-associated volatile cues, and that they tend to jump towards them. Directional jumping in response to information about insect proximity could be an adaptation for host attack by this parasite.

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Figure 1: Influence of different cues on the initiation and direction of jumps of Steinernema carpocapsae infective juveniles.


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Campbell, J., Kaya, H. How and why a parasitic nematode jumps. Nature 397, 485–486 (1999).

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