GSBS Student Publications


The neuroethology of C. elegans escape

Student Author(s)

Jennifer K. Pirri

GSBS Program


UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins; Escape Reaction; Touch Perception


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Escape behaviors are crucial to survive predator encounters. Touch to the head of Caenorhabditis elegans induces an escape response where the animal rapidly backs away from the stimulus and suppresses foraging head movements. The coordination of head and body movements facilitates escape from predacious fungi that cohabitate with nematodes in organic debris. An appreciation of the natural habitat of laboratory organisms, like C. elegans, enables a comprehensive neuroethological analysis of behavior. In this review we discuss the neuronal mechanisms and the ecological significance of the C. elegans touch response.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Pirri JK, Alkema MJ. The neuroethology of C. elegans escape, Curr Opin Neurobiol (2012), doi:10.1016/j.conb.2011.12.007. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed