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Adult Caenorhabditis elegans.jpg
Caenorhabditis elegans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Nematoda
Class: Secernentea
Order: Rhabditida
Family: Rhabditidae
Genus: Caenorhabditis

Caenorhabditis is a genus of nematodes which live in bacteria-rich environments like compost piles, decaying dead animals and rotting fruit. The name comes from Greek: caeno- (καινός (caenos) = new, recent); rhabditis = rod-like (ῥάβδος (rhabdos) = rod, wand). The Caenorhabditis genus contains the noted model organism Caenorhabditis elegans and several other species for which a genome sequence is either available or currently being determined. The two most-studied species in this genus (C. elegans and C. briggsae) are both androdioecious (they have male and hermaphrodite sexes) whereas most other species are gonochoristic (they have male and female sexes).[1]


Caenorhabditis occupy various nutrient and bacteria rich environments. They do not form self-sustaining populations in soil, as it lacks enough organic matter. Juvenile worms and also dauer larvae can be transported by invertebrates including millipedes, insects, isopods, and gastropods. Some species also appear to be associated with vertebrates including zebu cattle, although the nature of this association is not clear. The species can be classified as 'phoretic' or 'necromenic' based on their relationships to their invertebrate hosts. A phoretic worm rides on the host until it finds a favorable environment, and then leaves. A necromenic worm waits for the host to die, and lives on the bacteria which thrive in the dead animal. Many species are capable of both phoretic and necromenic lifestyles.[2]


Known species in this genus include:[3]


  1. ^ Haag, Eric S. "The evolution of nematode sex determination: C. elegans as a reference point for comparative biology". WormBook. 
  2. ^ Kiontke, K; Sudhaus, W (Jan 2006). "Ecology of Caenorhabditis species.". WormBook: 1–14. doi:10.1895/wormbook.1.37.1. PMID 18050464. 
  3. ^ Kiontki, Karin et al. (November 21, 2011). "A phylogeny and molecular barcodes for Caenorhabditis, with numerous new species from rotting fruits". BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 339. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-339. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  4. ^ The C. elegans Sequencing Consortium (1998). "Genome sequence of the nematode C. elegans: a platform for investigating biology". Science 282 (5396): 2012–2018. doi:10.1126/science.282.5396.2012. PMID 9851916. 
  5. ^ Stein, L. D. et al. (2003). "The Genome Sequence of Caenorhabditis briggsae: A Platform for Comparative Genomics". PLoS Biology 1 (2): 166–192. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0000045. PMC 261899. PMID 14624247. 
  6. ^ "GSC: Caenorhabditis remanei". Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2007. 
  7. ^ "GSC: Caenorhabditis n. sp. PB2801". Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2007. 
  8. ^ "GSC: Caenorhabditis japonica". Archived from the original on 28 February 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2007. 
  9. ^ Mortazavi, A.; Schwarz, E. M.; Williams, B.; Schaeffer, L.; Antoshechkin, I.; Wold, B. J.; Sternberg, P. W. (2010). "Scaffolding a Caenorhabditis nematode genome with RNA-seq". Genome Research 20 (12): 1740–1747. doi:10.1101/gr.111021.110. PMC 2990000. PMID 20980554.  edit