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Dolichoplana striata

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.

Flatworm, Dolichoplana striataWhen 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.

Flatworm, Dolichoplana striataThis specimen is about half the length of the one above.  Flatworms move more slowly, and in a different manner than earthworms.

Flatworm, Dolichoplana striataWhen 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.

Flatworm, Dolichoplana striataBy 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.

Flatworm, Dolichoplana striataAs 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]
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