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

Swarming Serratia marcescens

When grown on soft agar (0.7-0.8%) and a rich medium, cells of Serratia marcescens (and other Gram-negative bacteria) elongate, produce more flagella, and move over the surface of the agar in a coordinated manner. Serrawettin, a lipopeptide, appears to be important as a wetting agent. Swarming is more vigorous than in Salmonella, and cells at the very edge of the swarm are more active.

The first video, made in phase contrast, shows spreading near the edge of a swarm. The second video shows that cells removed from a swarm swim vigorously.


Serratia swarming

Serratia swimming


Harshey, R. M. Bees aren't the only ones: swarming in Gram-negative bacteria. Mol. Microbiol. 13, 389-394 (1994).

We would like to thank Rasika Harshey for her help in creating these movies.