T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Flatworm (Caenoplana coerulea) Blue Garden Flatworm

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Platyhelminthes
Class: Turbellaria
Order: Tricladida
Family: Geoplanidae
Genus: Caenoplana
Species: C. coerulea
Binomial name: Caenoplana coerulea
Common names: Blue Garden Flatworm, Blue Planarian

Caenoplana coerulea is a species of land flatworm, a terrestrial turbellarian whose native range is New Zealand and eastern Australia. It has now been accidentally introduced to other areas around the world.
This harmless planarian is a predator of invertebrates and are found under rocks and rotting logs in moist forest areas and in damp places in gardens. It is often found coiled and surrounded by a dry, silvery plaque of mucus.
Caenoplana coerulea is a long narrow flatworm, which is shiny black or dark brown on the upper surface, and mid-blue on the ventral side. There is a pale, longitudinal stripe running down the center of the upper surface. Multiple lateral eyes are arranged in a single row around the anterior tip of the narrow head. The head on some individuals can have a pinkish tip.

All terrestrial flatworms are hermaphrodites having both male and female sex organs. Reproduction is most commonly achieved by cross-fertilisation with another of the same species. Under less than optimal conditions they can reproduce by fragmentation, a form of asexual reproduction.


This photo shows the blue underside.

Blue underside of this flatworm


Another worm
 
The head.