A Comparison of Techniques for Extraction and Study of Anhydrobiotic Nematodes from Dry Soils


  • D. W. Freckman
  • D. T. Kaplan
  • S. D. Van Gundy


Anhydrobiotic nematodes were fixed and extracted from dry Mojave desert soils with hot and cold fixatives (5% formalin and 4% gluteraldehyde). Morphologically, extracted nematodes were tightly coiled and shrunken in size. Various concentrations of KCl, ethylene glycol, and sucrose solutions were compared for their effectiveness in extracting viable nematodes still in the anhydrobiotic state. Approximately 80-95% of the anhydrobiotic nematodes extracted with 1.25 M and 1.5 M sucrose were tightly coiled and shrunken in a manner similar to those fixed and extracted in formalin. Anhydrobiotic nematodes can be maintained in this form for up to 24 days in 1.25 M sucrose solution and still be revived. All molarities of ethylene glycol and KC1 tested were ineffective in recovering and maintaining nematodes in the natural anhydrobiotic state. Straight, air-dried, and active nematodes served as controls and did not coil when placed in hot or cold fixatives or in any concentration of KCI, ethylene glycol, or sucrose. Anhydrobiosis, as represented by the coiled form of nematodes from desert soils, was not confined to any particular life stage or trophic group. Key Words: cryptobiosis, nematode survival.