The racing stripe flatworm

The Woody Head rock platform and bay have many great marine animals easily seen by snorkellers. I’ve written many posts about this area; you can use the search function on this blog to track them down.

An example is the beautiful marine flatworm, Pseudoceros sp. [Update: Gary Cobb of http://www.nudibranch.com.au/ thinks it is an undescribed species of Pseudoceros.]

Pseudoceros bifurcus

Pseudoceros sp.; all photos by Peter Scharf

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Museum Victoria says:

They are voracious predators which attack and digest prey with eversible (able to be turned inside out) mouthparts (called a pharynx). Oysters are a favourite food, but no doubt there are many prey preferences and other associations with invertebrates that are yet to be discovered. Many flatworms are strikingly coloured, are toxic to other invertebrates, or mimic other invertebrates (or all three). Sex in flatworms is bizarre. Flatworms are hermaphrodites (each worm has both male and female reproductive systems) and sex may involve “penis fencing” whereby each worm tries to spear sperm into the other. Sort of like a “pin the tail on the donkey” game, albeit with significant family planning consequences.

An excellent guide to flatworms is the book and CD set, Fabulous Flatworms: A Guide to Marine Polyclads by Leslie Newman & Lester Cannon.

Here’s a bunch of enthusiastic Woody Head amateur marine biologists, doing what comes naturally …

Woody snorkellers

Happy new year, folks!

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One Response to The racing stripe flatworm

  1. janebeau says:

    Spectacular beastie – voracious predator looking all frail and glamorous – sounds like some man-eating women!

    Expiring from the heat/humidity, helped last night by the most persistent mosquito ever 😦

    I have been on holiday for too long now, not so much relaxed as totally inert and it’s back to work Monday tomorrow, arrggh.

    Have a brilliant 2016,

    Xx J

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