At some point during its early days, P.pacificus [a roundworm] pauses its growth and becomes a dauer — an especially tough larva that’s adapted to survive through harsh conditions. The dauers stand on their tails and wave their body about in the hopes of latching onto passing beetles.
But Sider Penkov and Akira Ogawa from the Max Planck Institutes found that groups of P.pacificus can merge to form a single waving “dauer tower”, composed of up to a thousand individuals.
Each individual worm is just a quarter of a millimetre long but the towers can grow up to a centimetre. Some are so big that you can see them with the naked eye and photograph them with a macro lens, even though their members are all microscopic.