FW: predatory terrestrial planarians

Kirk Fitzhugh fitzhugh at almaak.usc.edu
Thu Jan 22 17:45:17 EST 1998

I sent this message directly to Yanega earlier today:

Dr. Yanega:

The turbellarian flatworm you saw might be a species of Bipalium. They get
up to 25 cm long, have distinct longitudinal black and whitish stripes and
a hammer head-like anterior end. Here in the Los Angeles, California area,
I get several calls per year from people finding B. kewense in their flower
beds, crawling across the sidewalk, etc. I've also found it along Texas
coastal communities; it apparently became established in the southern US
through the transport of tropical potted plants. Hyman (The Invertebrates,
Vol. II) gives a general account, noting that species are native to
tropical habitats. As for prey, Bipalium is probably a general carnivore,
eating any thing its proboscis can accommodate.

At 10:27 PM 1/22/1998 +0100, you wrote:
>Thursday, 22 January 1997
>Perhaps not quite our department, but anybody want to comment on this?
> -------
>Mary E. Petersen
>Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen
>mepetersen at zmuc.ku.dk
>====== Forwarded message starts here  =========
>From: Douglas Yanega
>To: Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM
>Subject: predatory terrestrial planarians
>Date: Thursday, January 22, 1998 10:05PM
>Yesterday I saw one of the most amazing things ever in my life, as I
>watched a black-and-yellow racing-striped planarian chase a slug up a
>tree, catch it, wrap around it, and kill it. Since there isn't any
>"terrestrial planarian" mailing list, I thought I'd solicit here if anyone 
>knows of this beastie - name, distribution, known prey habits, etc.

Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
Associate Curator of Polychaetes
Research & Collections Branch
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90007
Phone:   213-763-3233
FAX:     213-746-2999
e-mail:  fitzhugh at bcf.usc.edu

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