Biology and behaviour


  • Manunema kithara is one of the smallest multi-celled animals.
  • Fully grown adults are approximately 450µm long (less than half a millimetre) and 25µm wide (thinner than a human hair).

Life cycle

  • Female nematodes produce eggs which develop into a larval nematode.
  • There are 4 larval stages and nematodes moult their cuticle between each stage to adulthood.

Life expectancy

  • The life expectancy of M. kithara is unknown.
  • Other nematodes species have been found to live for anything between 3 weeks to 2 years. Most appear to only live for a few months.


  • Most nematodes living in marine sediments do not move far. 
  • Marine nematodes living intertidally may move up and down as the tide rises and falls.
  • Some species may move through the sediment in response to chemical signals (for example, decaying food).
  • The specific behaviour of Manunema kithara is unknown.
  • Manuema kithara

    Learn about the breeding and reproduction processes of nematodes and how they spread into new areas.