Wild Things: Life as We Know It- page 5 | Science | Smithsonian
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Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Whale of a comeback, dancing cockatoos, sticky bees, and waltzing pond scum

Not Bad For Pond Scum

Volvox
(Cheryl Carlin)
Volvox are single-celled algae that live in spherical colonies containing thousands of cells. When the cells twirl their flagella, the whole colony spins. Now biophysicists in England and Japan say Volvox colonies interact in unexpected ways. In a "waltz", they revolve around each other. In a "minuet," they hover farther apart. The scientists speculate that the coordinated movements increase the chances of cross-colony fertilization.

Learn more about Volvox algae at the Encyclopedia of Life.

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