Worm like organism observations

Submitted by abnguyen on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:21

The object in front of me is a worm like organism in a plastic cup.  The worm is surrounded by some flakes.  The worm is roughly 12 segments and 25 mm long.  It has tried to climb out of the cup but cannot get more than halfway up.  Once it fails, the worm falls down and rolls around a few times.  On its own, the worm does not leave the perimeter of the cup but if it is moved to the middle, the worm will stop moving completely.  The head is a reddish color while the tail is black and the rest of the body is yellow.  The middle section of its body is fatter than the rest and it seems to have a hard time moving its lower body.  After the worm has taken a lap around the cup, it will try and climb out in the same location as before.  The worm is bilaterally symmetrical and has a vein running from head to tail.  The worm does not seem to require much food.  When tapping on the cup and making motions outside, the worm does not respond to any stimulus.  When the worm is not moving/resting, it curls its tail over its head.  This is probably a comfortable resting position since it defaults to this when still.  Compared to other organisms that I've observed, the worm moves relatively slowly.  It also does not seem to like leaving its comfort zone of the cup's edge.

First Blog About Grub-esque Friend

Submitted by kmichaud on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:21

This organism has an elonagted body with ventral legs that are struggling to grasp the cup it is confined in. It has a rounded body with segments and is creme colored with a dark brown head. Though its body appears to be soft and fleshy, its head segment is hard and shiny. Its front legs (3 sets of 2) are relatively rigid and move in an alternating fluid pattern. Its hind legs that begin halfway down its body are stubby and look like they may have suction capabilities on their ends. It appears to be a grub of some sort that spends its time in the soil. It also has small hairs covering its body rather sparsely.

It appears to have relatively little control of the back portion of its body, and has more ocntrol over the front portion and its front legs. Though it has control of its movements, it struggles to get its body righted and has not been able to walk any significant distance. Often, its back portion of its body curls to face the ceiling leaving its ventral side and legs exposed. Its eyes are not too clearly distinguishable, but are located near the front of its head. Overall, its movements are rather uncomfortable and it does quite a bit of flailing.

When it is finally righted, it doesn't travel very far, but appears to be looking for a route to escape out of its cup. It also has small pincers at the end of its head which probably help with feeding. It can also compress its body segments pretty well or elongate its body to reach things in the cup. When it is fully stretched, it exceeds 2.2 cm in length and its body segments at their widest are approximately 0.5 cm in diameter. Its head is roughly 2mm at its narrowest and 3mm at its widest in width and roughtly 2mm in length. At the far end of its body, it has 2 small legs that are dark brown in color at their tips. Its tail narrows to a width of about 1mm. Its front legs are about 1mm in length and also appear to be segmented. Its body appears to be segmented into 11 segments plus its head region. It also has a lighter colored line running down the dorsal side of its body that separates it into bilaterally symmetrical regions. It also has 4 sets of pseudo-legs in the back half of its body not including the 2 legs at the vey end of its tail. One of its front legs also has an odd coloration and has a dark brown region.

Observations of Worm-Like Creature

Submitted by jgirgis on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:21

The object that I have received is a worm-like creature. For the sake of this entry, I will classify it as a worm. The worm is probably about an inch long. The worm is a beige/light brown color. The head of the worm is a dark brown. The work keeps moving in circles and moves along the side of the cup it is in, as if the worm wants to escape from the cup. In addition, the worm moves very slowly. Sometimes the worm just moves its legs in the same spot, not actually moving any distance. The worm has many legs. When the worm moves, it uses its whole body to slide along the cup. The worm's body is cut into many divisions. The middle of the worm's body is the thickest part. The worm pushes the particles that are inside the cup, out of the way when moving. The worm has a black tip on its head. Sometimes the worm would flip over on its back accidentally and get stuck. While on its back, the legs would be moving very fast, yet the worm would be immobile. Additionally, there are little white hairs on the worm. When the worm moved, it had a wave-like structure. 

My worm-like creature is 2.3 cm long. There are 14 legs total on the worm. The worm has 6 legs in the front and then 8 legs in the back. The legs in the front are longer than the ones in the back. The ones in the back had little black tips and were extremely short, like little stumps. The worm is divided into ten segments on its body. The worm is bilaterally symmetrical. When the worm moves, it puts all of its force on the back of its body initially and then would thrust itself forward. There are white particles on its head. The worm never moves to the middle of the cup, only along the edges of the cup. It only moves in a circle along the edges of the cup. The worm did not follow my pencil tip when I put the pencil in front of the worm and moved it. In addition, when I put my finger in front of it, it did not follow it along the cup. When I moved the worm to the middle of the cup, it would curl up and move back to the edge of the cup, as it originally was.

Organism Observed in Cup

Submitted by seszlari on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:21

The organism that I observed was a tan, long, and fat. This organism stayed on the outside walls of the cup for two fifteen minute periods but was also very active. As it was trying to escape the cup, I noticed that there were 3 pairs of long front legs. The 4 pairs of back legs were a lot shorter and dark in color. The front legs seem to be the movement of the body but have no traction, where the back legs seem to serve more as traction mechanisms. It would use the wood chips as a traction mechanism because the bottom of the cup is slippery. The organism was about 2.5 centimeters long; however, when it was scrunched up it was about 1.75 centimeters. When it was put onto a paper rule, it seems to act differently and want to walk along the lines of the paper. The head of the body seems to have some sort of shell, which I would assume would serve as protection. The head is reddish in color and has some black dots on the side of the head which would maybe be a way to identify this specific organism from another one in this species. The body has a lateral line straight down the center of the body, therefore making the organism symmetrical. It would be interesting to see how this organism would interact with members of its own species. I would predict that this organism is related to a caterpillar, worm, or maggot and that it is in the larval stage. There are about ten segments on the body, and about 3 different parts of the body – the head, body, and tail. The inside of the body seems to be black in color, and looks like they could be organs. The body will pulse about every 10 seconds; however, I am not sure if it is just breathing or if it is trying to move.

The Description of the Strange "Worm"

Submitted by robynfarrell on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:21

At first glance, the "worm" had a beidge and white color to it but at the same time happened to be transperant. The transperancy was shown through the black line that ran from the back to the front of the worm and faded the closer it reached to the top of the head. It showed the bilateral symmetry this worm like strucutre had. On each side there were 7 legs, 3 closer to the head that looked like moveabe legs, and 4 on the body region that looked almost like black suction cups. Concentrating more on the head there seemed to be a hard, shell like structure around it that had a darker color - more dark brown and red in color - compared to the rest of the body. The body itself was segmented with around 10 segments that ranged from .1cm to .3cm thick depending on the location of the segments. The closer it was to the ends of the worm the smaller the segments were, and the closer in the middle the thicker they were. The segments also increased in size when the worm would move, by expanding and shrinking with an almost slinky like motion. The wave of the slinky like motion would start from the tail and then move itself up causing the worm to move in a forward direction. The worm was cyclindrical in shape. It's length was around 2cm when still, and 2.5cm when fully expanded. The width was around .4cm and the height was around .3cm. Its movements were quite boring, as it stayed around the rim of the container it was, circling around in laps and moving only a forward direction, and ocasionally trying to escape. 


Submitted by johanthomas on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:20

This worm was ~25mm long and ~5mm across at its widest point. It was composed of a head, 10 body segments, and a tail. It was bilaterally split by a vein running down it's back. This dorsal vein pumped blood at a rate of 10 pumps per 11.22 seconds. The worm has 14 legs in 7 pairs. Three pairs are located underneath its head and four pairs are located around the middle of the worm. The worm is a tan brown/white color. The worm has a tail split into two distinct segments. The legs have grip: they could lift up woodent shavings. When turned on its back, the worm continuously attempts to get back on its legs -- it never plays dead. Its skin is transluscent. The worms' head is surrounded by fine hairs. These hairs do not respond to touch. The worm responds defensively when something comes in contact with its skin, not its hairs.

Worm Observations and Description

Submitted by lcampion on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:19

Placed in a plastic cup a worm-like organism moved around. The worm is about 2.5 cm long and 3 mm across at its widest part. It is off-white with red eyes and black mouth parts. The worm appears to me symmetrical along the length of its body. It has many legs and on the underside of its body. There seems to be two different types of legs, one type at the front of its body and another at the middle and back ends. The abdomin of the the worm is comprised of 10 smaller units, not including the head. The abdomin is wider towards the middle than it is compared to the ends. Its body can extend and contract, altering its body length. The worm was observed to move in a manner similar to the way inch worms move. As the worm moved, it appears that there is an outer layer and a separate inner layer to the worm's body. The worm was able to move both forward and backwards, yet it was unable to move up the side of the plastic cup.

There is more information that can be learned about the worm with the use of tools and modified environments. A sample of the worm's DNA could be taken and analyzed to discover more about what species it belongs to. From this information more can be learned about organisms that are related to the worm we are investigating. It would also be interesting to place the worm with others of the same species and observe the behavior of each when in a group setting. Another helpful experiment that could be conducted would be to keep the worm alive with others are observe the life cycle of the species. There are many questions left unanswered by observation alone.



Week 01: Welcome!

Submitted by sbrewer on Tue, 01/17/2017 - 13:32


Welcome to Section 5 of Writing in Biology! I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you. If there's anything I can do, please don't hesitate to contact me.  You are always welcome to drop in to my office 311A Morrill Building III South (enter through the BCRC). If you'd like to make an appointment, just send me an email with two or three times that could work for you and I'll try to pick one.

This is the class Preparation Page, which you should visit every week before class. Check here to look for announcements, assignments, projects that are due, and to check where we're meeting. After the first class meeting, I plan that we will meet in the BCRC which is in 311 Morrill Building III South.

The class meets only once a week: I will try to post the week's preparation page each week by the end of the day on Sunday.  

Recommended Activities

I strongly encourage you to get a copy of the textbook, read chapters 1 and 2, and bring it to class.  It isn't that expensive and I guarantee that it will be really helpful. Really.

Please activate your Course Account before class.

On the first day, we'll talk about how the class will be organized and what is "Writing in Biology". And we'll start to get to know one another and try to have some fun. Finally, although it's early, we'll discuss the idea of having a "theme" for the semester.  What do you want to write about?  What's worth spending a semester studying? I have some ideas, but I'd like to hear your ideas too.


Week 05: Methods Presentations; Manuscript Formatting

Submitted by sbrewer on Sun, 10/02/2016 - 20:35

Meeting Location

BCRC (M311S)


This week, we will give you a chance to very briefly present your Methods paper. This is an opportunity to get feedback on the differences observed and factors identified. We will also spend a few minutes looking at manuscript submission guidelines for scientific journals and establishing a set of formatting guidelines for manuscript submission for this class.

Required Activities

I'm assumed you have already completed your own figure, have submitted your methods to me, and have been matched up with a partner (as was required before the last class meeting). Before class, please:

  1. Follow your partner's Methods.
  2. Post their figure at the course website.
  3. Once your figure has been duplicated, you should
    • Post your original figure.
    • Identify differences between your original figure and the duplicate created by your partner (to be summarized in the RESULTS of your final paper).
    • Identify the factors that caused the differences observed (to be summarized in the DISCUSSION).
    • Complete a rough draft of your complete Methods paper. (Please continue to use the same Google Doc that already contains your Methods).
  4. Find the manuscript submission guidelines for a scientific journal (here's a list of life science journals at the UMass library). Write a brief blog post that includes the title of the journal, a link to the guidelines, and a very brief summary of the requirements.

Week 02: Document Structure, Begin Methods Projects

Submitted by sbrewer on Sun, 09/11/2016 - 20:13

Meeting Location

BCRC (M311S)


This week, we will discuss the structure of a scientific report and begin the first project: the Methods Project. 

Required Activities

Before class, complete the following tasks:

  1. Complete the reading assignment as described in the Course Schedule (Read chapters 1-3 and 7). Mainly skim, to familiarize yourself with the content and then *use* them while doing your work in the class.
  2. Please briefly review these two scientific papers noting more the STRUCTURE of the documents than the details:

    Graf MD, Rochefort L. Moss Regeneration for Fen Restoration: Field and Greenhouse Experiments. Restoration Ecology [Internet]. 2010 ;18(1):121 - 130.

    F. III SChapin, Zavaleta ES, Eviner VT, Naylor RL, Vitousek PM, Reynolds HL, Hooper DU, Lavorel S, Sala OE, Hobbie SE, et al. Consequences of changing biodiversity. Nature [Internet]. 2000 ;405(6783):234 - 242.

  3. Download and install Google Earth Pro on your computer and familiarize yourself with its capabilities. Note it is now free using the license code "GEPFREE".
  4. Read the Project Description for the Methods Project

As always, don't forget to do your journal writing, post a perfect paragraph, and comment on three other perfect paragraphs.


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