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A-Z listing (archived)plugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigA-Z listing (archived)

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Wikenigma - an Encyclopaedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopaedia of the Unknown Science

Bacterial swarming motility

Swarming motility is a rapid (2–10 μm/s) and coordinated translocation of a bacterial population across solid or semi-solid surfaces, and is an example of bacterial multicellularity and swarm behaviour. Swarming motility was first reported by Jorgen Henrichsen and has been mostly studied in genus Serratia, Salmonella, Aeromonas, Bacillus, Yersinia, Pseudomonas, Proteus, Vibrio and Escherichia.
Source: Wikipedia

Swarming bacteria have been observed to move (as a group) at around 1cm per hour. The movement was first observed in the 1970's.

It's been seen mostly in laboratory conditions, but seems to be an innate behaviour that presumably has a role in natural environments as well. Its function, and the reasons for its evolution are currently unknown.


Also see Amoeboid movementplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigAmoeboid movement

Amoeboid locomotion is the usual mode of movement in adherent (i.e. sticky) eukaryotic cells - e.g. amoebas, slime moulds, leukocytes and sarcomas etc etc. It also features in biological processes such as embryonic development, wound healing, and canc…
and Flagellaplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigFlagella

A flagellum is a lash-like movable appendage that protrudes from the cell body of many bacteria and some eukaryotic cells. Including notable examples in plants (e.g. fern spores) and even mammals (e.g. sperm cells). The primary function of a flagellum is for m…


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