Up, Up, and Away, Worms! | God's World News

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Up, Up, and Away, Worms!
Science Soup
Posted: September 01, 2023
  • 1 Worms and electricity
    These tiny C. elegans worms use static electricity to travel. (Stephanie King, University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute)
  • 2 Worms and electricity
    This close-up image shows a C. elegans worm. (Alamy)
  • 3 Worms and electricity
    Rubbing a balloon on your hair creates static electricity. (123RF)
  • 4 Worms and electrcity
    Researchers saw the tiny worms jump onto bumblebees. (Arno Burgi/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)
  • 5 Worms and electricity
    Pollinators like insects and hummingbirds build up electrical charges as they fly. That helps them attract pollen—and tiny hitchhikers like the worms. (AP/David Zalubowski)
  • 1 Worms and electricity
  • 2 Worms and electricity
  • 3 Worms and electricity
  • 4 Worms and electrcity
  • 5 Worms and electricity

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Researchers noticed something odd. Tiny worms in Petri dishes kept ending up on the lids. A team put up a camera. The critters weren’t crawling around. They leaped from the bottom to the top of the dish.

These worms weren’t bitten by radioactive spiders. Like ticks, they hitched a ride on an electrical current. The research team tried putting worms on a glass electrode. The worms only leaped to another electrode when a charge was present. They jumped at about the same speed as people walk!

Have you ever rubbed a balloon on your head? What happens when you hold the balloon above you? Your hair lifts up or out in crazy directions. Rubbing the balloon adds electrons to it. The balloon becomes negatively charged. Opposites attract. Your positively charged hair is attracted to the negatively charged balloon.

Pollinators like insects and hummingbirds build up electrical charges as they fly. Pollen in plants is drawn to the electrical field around pollinators. Pollen isn’t the only thing that moves towards pollinators. Researchers rubbed flower pollen on bumblebees. The team placed the tiny test worms close to the bees. The worms stood on their tails and jumped aboard.

Yoo-hoo, bee taxi!

What if the whole family needs a ride? No problem. The little wigglers pile on top of each other and leap in a single column. Scientists have witnessed as many as 80 worms make the jump!

An almost microscopic worm called C. elegans is famous for hitching rides. It crawls onto bugs and snails for a cruise. But it also uses the electrical field around flying insects to hop on for a free flight.

Pray: Thank God for His design of all creatures.