by Katelyn Solbakk
Digital Art - Digital Art
A root-feeding nematode trapped by predatory fungus.
This fungus produces a chemical in the ring cells which lures the nematode in. Once a nematode is within the ring, the cells react and swell up like a balloon, forming a tight, inescapable collar. Fungal hyphae penetrate the nematode's body and slowly digest it from the inside out.
In this drawing, the fungus (white) is growing along the surface of a plant's root, surrounded by root hairs. The nematode, which was moving in to feed on the root, became lured and trapped by the fungus. By trapping the nematode to feed itself, the fungus has also protected the plant. Complex interactions like this are good examples of why it is so important to protect biodiversity in the soil ecosystem as well as all others.
February 2nd, 2020
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