WIM VAN EGMOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WIM VAN EGMOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nematode worms mating. Light microscope footage of mating between soil-dwelling roundworms Caenorhabditis elegans. This species has two sexes: a self-fertilizing hermaphrodite and a male. During mating the male's copulatory organs (spicules) are inserted into the hermaphrodite's vulva to facilitate sperm transfer. Males arise infrequently amongst hermaphrodite self-fertilized eggs, and at higher frequency when mating has occurred. C. elegans is used extensively in biological and genetics research. It reaches a length of around one millimetre. Filmed with differential interference contrast illumination.
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