Australian flatworm

Australoplana sanguinea

Overview

Photo credit: ©The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera)
Australian flatworm - Australoplana sanguinea
Description
  • It is up to 8cm long and 5mm wide, with an orange flattened body. Many tiny black eyes are along the anterior and lateral ends.

    Download N.I.E.A. ID guide


Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • It is native to eastern Australia.
  • Outside its native range, it is found in Great Britain, with the biggest population in the south west of the country. 

Potential or known impacts:
  • Voracious earthworm predator, which affects native earthworm populations.
  • May reproduce by splitting in two and regenerating into a complete worm. Sexual reproduction may occur, however only 3 egg cocoons were seen in a 10 year period.

How did it/could it get here?:
  • It probably was introduced with imported plant soil or plant containers.

Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
  • It is present in low numbers in Northern Ireland. It is not present in Ireland.

Methods for prevention:
  • Check soil from around new plants - don't plant or introduce to a non-infested area.
  • Don't give or receive plants from areas where Australian flatworms are present, as this can help their spread
  • If seen, take a picture and record online here on CEDaR.

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland