Methods for measuring pharyngeal behaviors

WormBook. 2012 Dec 18;1-13. doi: 10.1895/wormbook.1.154.1.


The pharynx is a neuromuscular pump at the anterior end of the alimentary tract. It is made up of 20 muscle cells, 20 neurons, and 20 other cells. Pharyngeal activity correlates with food intake. The proper feeding rate, as well as the precise timing of pharyngeal movements, is required for efficient feeding and likely for survival in nature. For most purposes, pharyngeal behavioral analysis requires no more than a routine stereomicroscope and a pair of eyes, but accuracy can be increased by video recording followed by off-line analysis in slow motion. Like other C. elegans behaviors, pharyngeal behavior is sensitive to both the immediate environmental conditions as well as to the history of such conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Peristalsis / physiology
  • Pharynx / physiology