Movies of swimming motility

Escherichia coli

Rhodobacter sphaeroides


Movies of swarming motility

Escherichia coli swarm

Salmonella typhmurium swarm

Serratia marcescens swarm

Movies of gliding motility


Mycoplasma mobile

Flavobacterium johnsoniae

Movies of Twitching motility

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Other movies

Tethered bacteria

Escherichia coli patterns

Carpets and microchannels

Miscellaneous movies

Marvels of Bacterial Behavior - History & Physics of Bacterial Motion

Rowland Institute         Harvard University

Gliding Mycoplasma

Mycoplasma are small wall-less bacteria. Some species and others are nonmotile. M. mobile, shown here, glides at about 3 µm/s. It was isolated from the gill of a freshwater fish. The cell has a nose, like a shmoo, and it glides nose first. In a remarkable experiment, Uenoyama and Miyata (2005) have shown that detergent-lysed cells continue to glide if provided Mg++ and ATP.


Gliding Mycoplasma mobile


Kirchhoff, H. Motility, in Mycoplasmas: Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis. American Society for Microbiology, pp. 289-306 (1992).

Uenoyama, A. and Miyata, M. Gliding ghosts of Mycoplasma mobile. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102, 12754-12758 (2005).