Whole worm volume? C. elegans body size. Egg size

Originally posted on WormAtlas by “Riva”, July 06, 2004

All C.elegans community,

I am trying to find out what is the volume of a whole worm and also does anybody have this information? Would it be possible to know also the volume of the whole worm in different stages?


Originally posted on WormAtlas by “Anna”, June 17, 2004


Can you please tell me what is the size of the C. elegans larval stages. this is because I want to separate each stages by filtering and I don’t know the pore size I should use.

thank you very much!


Originally posted on WormAtlas by “ChristyTeets”, February 06, 2005

Does anyone know the size of the eggs for C. elegans?


Originally posted on WormAtlas by “hall”, July 21, 2004

The worm grows continuously in volume once emerging from the eggshell, and continues growing even into adulthood, perhaps becoming somewhat longer and more rotund after several days as an adult, so the absolute measurement will depend on the exact age and stage. Growth rates for length and cross-sectional area have been published by Knight et al Evolution and Development 4: 16-27 (2002). The rate of growth will not be linear.

Here I will give just a rough sketch of the expected dimensions

early embryo is very roughly 40 microns long, 25 microns diameter
will measure perhaps 2 x 10(4) cubic microns

young adult roughly 1 mm long and 60 microns in diameter
will measure perhaps 3 x 10(6) cubic microns

So the animal grows by over 100-fold in volume, more or less, in less than 3 days.

Perhaps someone esle has an insturmental approach to measuring the size using one of the commercially-available sorting machines? This might yield a more accurate profile of the dimensional changes across the stages.

David Hall

Originally posted on WormAtlas by “KBarrett”, February 08, 2005

Can someone please help me out and give me an approximate mass for a single L4 worm?

Originally posted on WormAtlas by “hall”, February 23, 2005

An L4 is roughly 0.8 mm long, and has a diameter of about 30 microns. But of course it is tapered at the ends.

Assume that it is a cylinder, with a radius of 15 microns, and a length of about 7 mm. Volume will be length x 3.14 x (radius )squared. Assume that the animal has the same specific gravity as water. Do the math.

David Hall

Originally posted on WormAtlas by “hall”, March 07, 2005

here is a useful graph giving the relative change in volume for all larval stages in Figure 4 of Knight et al (2002) Evolution & Development 4: 16-27.
They have made idealized cylinder measurements after determining larval lengths from live measurements by light microscopy and cross-sectional measurements from EM images.

The scale on their graph gives the volume in cubic microns x 10(3)

Assuming that worms have the specific gravity of water (and I have no data to test this), then one could convert these values to weights. By my calculations, a cubic micron converts to 10(-6) cubic mm. And 10(3) cubic mm weighs one gram.

So one can convert the scale on the graph to 10(-9) grams.

Finally, the graph shows that an L4 larva changes in mass (volume) by a factor of two between the L4 molt and the adult molt, from 10(-6) grams to 2 x 10(-6) grams.

David Hall

I am getting a warning to start a new topic because this post has been dead for so long, but it is exactly this which I need to know but is not really answered in the thread. I apologize if this is inappropriate.

I am designing a microfluidic device and cannot find definite information about the radius of either the eggs or the various larval stages. Using the information from “Environmental influence on the genetic correlations
between life-history traits in Caenorhabditis elegans”, Gutteling et al., Heredity (2007) 98, 206–213 and working backward using Vegg = 4/3 pi r^3, I get a range of egg radii from 84 - 100 um. Does this sound reasonable? In a brief reference in the introduction to “How does a millimeter-sized cell find its center?”, Wühr et al., Cell Cycle. 2009 April 15; 8(8): 1115–1121, they state that the length of a C. elegans egg is approximately 45um, which would give a maximum radius of about 23 um. Which is correct?

I have looked at the Knight paper mentioned above. They measured the cross-sectional area and used it to calculate a volume and did not report a linear measure of width. If someone could indicate an approximate width at its widest point to length ratio, assuming it stays relatively constant, I will do the calculations in reverse for each larval stage. Or if it isn’t that simple, i.e. the width does not increase linearly with the length, if you can point that out it would be appreciated.