Most planaria are aquatic, that is, they live in water. Dolichoplana striata is one of the few which live on land. Originating in the wet forests of southeast Asia, it has spread throughout the world as stowaways in pots of plant specimens. It has become well established in the gardens of this part of California.
When the walks
are wet after rain, or lawn watering, the flatworms are among the worms
which come out of the lawn. It is easy to tell the flatworms from
earthworms because the flatworms leave a slime trail. The pointed
end is the head end.
This specimen is
about half the length of the one above. Flatworms move more
slowly, and in a different manner than earthworms.
When moving on
an open surface, the head end frequently rears up, exploring the third
diminution. While the curved upper surface may give the
impression that the worm is round, the underside is flat.
By placing a
small piece of wet paper towel in front of it, this worm was easy to
capture and handle. To pick it up directly is tricky and is
likely to injure the animal.
As this immature
earwig was running across the wet walk, it came to a sudden stop about
a centimeter from the flatworm. It showed considerable agitation
as it backed off.
[Taxonomy : Classification]
[Animals] [Back Yard Biology] [Science Can Be Fun]