Relative tissue mass distribution of C. elegans

Does anyone know or could point me to paper(s) that determined the relative size/mass of tissues of a C. elegans. I would to make a pie chart… I guess it would be germline/hyperdermis/intestine/pharynx… etc (from biggest to smallest)…however, real number would be nice

After seeing your post I tried getting the volumes for different tissues from the virtual worm model ( in Blender using the print3D addon ( So I manged to measure volume of individual cells but doing this one by one is too tedious. I couldn’t find a way to export this automatically for each cell to combine to get tissue value. Also I did not manage to merge the meshes of the cells belonging to the same tissue, that would be another approach. Maybe you have more success or could contact one of the virtual worm contributors ( or somebody with better Blender skills to help out…

Hi Collin,

First, I am the one who built the virtual worm model in Blender and although you might be able to get some rough approximations about volume proportions from that model for a young adult, it would be a bit of work and I wouldn’t rely to heavily on their accuracy.

Second, I would point you to this series of posts about reference values for worms in this forum:

Third, some time ago I put together this page of worm number estimates in the WormBase Wiki:

These last two resources do not provide volumes for individual tissues, but should give a sense as to the volume of the whole C. elegans worm at various life stages. You may have better luck contacting David Hall at WormAtlas:

to see if he (or anyone he knows) can give you life-stage specific estimates for volumes or proportions of volumes of each tissue.

We did a rough estimation using the 3D Virtual Worm, it’s now online at Micropublication:

From this analysis it looks like, for a young adult: intestine > hypodermis > gonads > body wall muscles > pharynx > neurons

Very thankful to reviewers David Hall and especially Chris Grove (thank you again Chris) who created the original Virtual Worm Model with Paul Sternberg in 2011.
I recommend checking it out in Blender in depth or the interactive version hosted by OpenWorm

hi chris,
Did you make any tutorial on how to make the C.elegans model in blender? Or could you please give some advice on learning Blender in order to make a worm model like yours?

@leibniz_wang On my Caltech Virtual Worm page (posted above)

You can find a link to my YouTube page where you can find my videos including some tutorials I made many (~11) years ago. Blender has undergone a lot of changes since then, so your best bet is probably to lookup current Blender tutorial videos to learn the latest version of Blender. Other than my C. elegans 2011 IWM poster, Virtual Worm page and YouTube videos, I don’t have any other descriptions of my methods to build the C. elegans model.

Here is the WormBase page for my 2011 IWM poster:


(Apparently, I can’t post URLs as a “new” user).