DIntroFIG 1: C. elegans life cycle with dauer branch.
C. elegans larval development proceeds through 4 larval stages (L1 through L4). L4 larvae molt into young adults which then develop into reproductive adults that survive for approximately 3 weeks under normal laboratory conditions. If L1s are starved, crowded and experience elevated temperatures, they may select an alternative developmental pathway developing into L2d and then dauer larvae. Dauer larvae are adapted for survival in the absence of food by dispersing into new environments. When suitable environmental conditions return, dauers may reenter reproductive development by molting into L4 larvae. (Adapted from WormAtlas Hermaphrodite IntroFIG 6.)
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