Long green filaments of Oscillatoria are seen gliding past each other, and shorter filaments are seen gliding freely through pond water. In addition to these cyanobacteria, diatoms are seen gliding on the solid surface of Oscillatoria filaments.
Gliding motion has been seen in several taxonomically unrelated organisms and the mechanism remains unclear (1, 2).
A sample from a mat of green Oscillatoriawas taken from a temporary puddle using a Pasteur pipette and transported to the microscope in an Eppendorf tube. Material was transferred to a drop of puddle water on a microscope slide and covered with a cover slip. This slide was viewed with a conventional bright-field microscope and a Pupil Cam attachment (Ken-A-Vision, Kansas City, MO).
1. Gordon, R., and R. W. Drum. 1970. A capillarity mechanism for diatom gliding locomotion. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 67(1):338–344.
2. Spormann, A. M. 1999. Gliding motility in bacteria: insights from studies of Myxococcus xanthus. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 63(3):621–641.