What Do Nematodes Eat?

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Nematodes--the most numerous multicellular organisms on Earth--live in every type of environment imaginable, and many are carnivorous while some eat plants.

Nematodes' Range

  • Nematodes are a type of microscopic roundworm that can be found in any environment from the bottom of the ocean to the middle of the desert.

What They Eat

  • Most nematodes are carnivorous, meaning they eat animals and organisms even smaller than they are. Sometimes they even eat other nematodes. Other nematodes feed on plant roots or other vegetation, depending on where they live.

Parasitic Nematodes

  • A large number of nematodes are parasitic, living off plants and animals that host them. These types of nematodes are more well known because of the health effects they have on the host.

What Eats Nematodes?

  • Nematodes are eaten by any other insect or animal larger than they are, including other nematodes. Nematodes' biggest predator is a fungus that entraps the nematode and digests it.

Diseases

  • Parasitic nematodes can cause hookworms and elephantiasis in animals and humans if ingested, both of which can be serious and even fatal.

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