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Turbatrix aceti

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Vinegar eels
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Nematoda
Class: Secernentea
Order: Rhabditida
Family: Panagrolaimidae
Genus: Turbatrix
Species: T. aceti
Binomial name
Turbatrix aceti
  • Anguillula aceti

Turbatrix aceti (also called Vinegar eels, Vinegar nematode) is a species of nematodes that are multicellular organisms. Vinegar eels are constantly moving in a whip-like motion. Their muscles run along the sides of these vinegar eels that allow them to move back and forth. Vinegar eels are also known for feeding on the acidic bacteria from vinegar and other various things, like fermented apples. They also respond to many different stimuli such as acidic messages and even temperature ones. They range from 1mm to 10mm long or larger. Unfortunately the vinegar eel nematodes go through a six stage life cycle. Their development consists of being an egg, four larval stages, and reaching adulthood. They have a total life span of 10 months.

These free-living nematodes live in the fermentation of byproduct, while they feed on the numerous bacteria there. Unfortunately, they have a large group of predators, fish. Vinegar eels are unique because they are a simple organism that has an unidirectional digestive tract that travels from the mouth to the anus. Nematodes, such as are found in many bodies of water such as hot springs and arctic pools. About a million roundworm parasites live in a single square meter in wet sand on the beach. In addition, these nematodes can also be found in various organisms such as insects, birds, fungi, plants. and reptiles. Humans dispose of vinegar eels by feeding them to fish.


A vinegar eels’ reproductive system is pretty similar to a human's. They have the same organs as we do. Female vinegar eels have ovaries and produce eggs, just like humans. Their reproductive system is in the form of a tube. A fertilized egg actually converts into an egg but it hatches in the uterus before exiting the womb.Vinegar eels give birth to as many as 45 babies every 8-10 days. A male vinegar eels’ reproductive system is way smaller than the female’s. They have testis and a vas deferens like male human beings. Their vas deferens connects to the digestive tract to form a space called the cloaca. The cloaca leads to the anus.

The digestive system of the vinegar eel is quite simple. It is basically a long tube. The mouth is just a small opening in the front of the worm, and the anus is at the end of the vinegar eel. The digestive tract in the eel is very efficient, and it goes in one direction. In the digestive tract the food gets broken down, and then the nutrients are absorbed. Vinegar eels’ diet includes the bacteria from fermented apples, and vinegar. The food would go in an intestine that is like the pharynx in the human body. There are nerves that go around the pharynx. The waste is removed in a place called the anus. As you can see the digestive system is quite simple in all nematodes.

Vinegar eels’ nervous systems consist of the brain and the sense organs, which are very sensitive. They have four peripheral nerves which are located on the dorsal, ventral, and lateral surfaces. The ventral nerve is the largest. The dorsal nerve is responsible for motor control, the lateral nerves are responsible for sensory control, and the ventral nerves are responsible for both. Each of their nerves lie inside of a cord of connective tissue lying between the cuticle and their muscle cells. Their brain and most of their sense organs are located towards the top end of their bodies. Their body is covered with sensory bristles, or papillae, which provide a sense of touch. They have fast reflexes and can detect objects, foods, mates, and predators quickly. As you can see, their sense organs and brain are very important and help them survive.

Nematodes, such as the vinegar eels, have no circulatory system. Through their body’s wall, gas and excretion waste are diffused. Oxygen from the outside environment is diffused into the body, and carbon dioxide is diffused out of the body. Vinegar eels have to live in liquids that have enough oxygen so that it can diffuse into their bodies. Vinegar eels don’t have a circulatory system because they don’t have any blood. It isn’t necessary for them to have one because they can simply diffuse what they need and don’t need in and out of their bodies.


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