A wax ester promotes collective host finding in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus

Nat Chem Biol. 2014 Apr;10(4):281-5. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1460. Epub 2014 Mar 2.


Survival of nematode species depends on how successfully they disperse in the habitat and find a new host. As a new strategy for collective host finding in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus, dauer larvae synthesize an extremely long-chain polyunsaturated wax ester (nematoil) that covers the surface of the animal. The oily coat promotes congregation of up to one thousand individuals into stable 'dauer towers' that can reach a beetle host more easily.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Coleoptera / parasitology
  • Ecosystem
  • Esters
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology*
  • Larva
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Nematoda / physiology*
  • Waxes*


  • Esters
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipids
  • Waxes