Hey microbiologists! And anyone who wants to be a microbiologist. Or anyone fascinated to know that there is an entire world under our feet, in the water, and in the air. In case you haven’t seen it, there is a video floating around of a hydra feeding. Very cool!
A hydra is a freshwater microscopic organism that can grow to almost half an inch long. It is tubular and, at one end, several tentacles stick out from the head much like the hair on the infamous Greek goddess, hence the name. These appendages are special as they are lined with hair-trigger cells that throw a neurotoxic dart at any prey the happen upon. Would James Bond be impressed? I think so.
Hydras are also special in that they have no brain nor muscles. They are basically a group of a few cells that are specialized for feeding. They’re also unique in that they appear to never die or age. Why would they? And our poor little guy never knows they joy of reproduction. Instead, they bud. Not very exciting if you ask me. But they also repair themselves if damaged, which I must agree, has great advantage.
Go here for a good overview in Wiki.
Here is the YouTube Video:
I cannot say how many glorious hours I spent with this book open on my cardboard ‘lab’ table as a wee bairn…