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Candy Striped Flatworm

Prostheceraeus vittatus (Montagu 1815)

Prostheceraeus vittatus

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Prostheceraeus vittatus, the candy striped flatworm,[2] is a species of marine polyclad flatworm in the family Euryleptidae. It is found in Western Europe, including on the western coasts of the British Isles.

Description

Prostheceraeus vittatus can grow to a length of about 50 mm (2 in) and a width of 25 mm (1 in). It is elliptical in shape with a rounded anterior (front) end and a more tapering posterior (back) end. It is dorso-ventrally flattened with an undulating wavy margin, which is formed into a pair of tentacles at the anterior end. The tentacles bear many simple eyes, and further eyes are to be found just behind the cerebral organ. The mouth is on the underside and the gut divides into many anastomosing branches that take nutrients to all parts of the body. There is a ventral sucker. This flatworm is a distinctive yellowish or cream colour with a central black longitudinal stripe and other fainter dark stripes parallel with the margin. It lacks segmentation and does not have any dorsal processes as do sea slugs, with which this flatworm might be confused; the two are not closely related and this animal is a flatworm and not a mollusc.[2][3]

Distribution

Prostheceraeus vittatus occurs in the temperate northeastern Atlantic Ocean. Its range includes the western coasts of the British Isles, the North Sea, the English Channel and the western Mediterranean Sea. Apart from the United Kingdom and Ireland, it has been recorded from Denmark, Norway and Corsica.[2] It is found from the intertidal zone down to depths of 20 m (66 ft) or more. In the intertidal zone it hides in crevices, under stones, under seaweed and among colonies of tunicates.[3]

Ecology

Turbellarians appear to glide over the substrate, being moved by the wafting of cilia on the ventral surface.[4] They are carnivorous, feeding on tunicates and other small invertebrates.[5] They are hermaphrodites, reproducing by copulation with internal fertilisation. Small batches of eggs are laid in gelatinous masses and develop directly into miniature adults.[6]

References

  1. ^ Tyler, Seth (2018). "Prostheceraeus vittatus (Montagu, 1815)". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Candy striped flatworm (Prostheceraeus vittatus)". MarLIN. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b de Kluijver, M. J. "Prostheceraeus vittatus". Macrobenthos of the North Sea: Platyhelminthes. Marine Species Identification Portal. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  4. ^ Fish, J. D. (2012). A Student’s Guide to the Seashore. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 125–128. ISBN 978-94-011-5888-6.
  5. ^ "Candy Stripe Flatworm (Prostheceraeus vittatus)". Field Studies Council. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  6. ^ Ruppert, Edward E.; Fox, Richard, S.; Barnes, Robert D. (2004). Invertebrate Zoology, 7th edition. Cengage Learning. pp. 241–244. ISBN 978-81-315-0104-7.

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Prostheceraeus vittatus: Brief Summary

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Prostheceraeus vittatus, the candy striped flatworm, is a species of marine polyclad flatworm in the family Euryleptidae. It is found in Western Europe, including on the western coasts of the British Isles.

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Description

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Elongated worms 10–30 mm long and 7–15 mm wide. Body shape elongated, leaf-shaped, with pointed anterior and posterior ends, and with light undulating margins. Marginal tentacles well developed with whitish edges and pointed ends. Dorsal surface smooth. Background coloration whitish or ivory, with black, continuous stripes; between the stripes, black discontinuous lines are present (Figure 4C). Faint white band runs along the entire body margin (Figure 4A, B). Ventral side smooth and pale. Sucker in middle of body or slightly more posterior (Figure 4E). Cerebral eyes form two compact elongated, frontally anastomosing groups (Figure 4A). Tentacular eyes scarce and mainly at base of tentacles. Tubular pharynx near anterior end, oral pore in posterior region first quarter of the body. Male and female genital pores clearly separated and located behind the pharynx (Figure 4D, E). Male copulatory apparatus with antero-dorsally oriented prostatic vesicle (Figure 4D, E). Male system consists of a short penis papilla armed with a small conical stylet, a true prostatic vesicle with a smooth glandular epithelium and a seminal vesicle with a thick muscle layer. Vasa deferentia join a dilated common vas deferens that opens into seminal vesicle. Copulatory complex lies forwardly oriented, and seminal vesicle opens through a small duct directly into distal end of prostatic vesicle. Female system lies posterior to male pore and is characterized by a short, rounded female atrium and a cement duct or pouch. In our specimen, a second dilatation (so-called shell gland pouch) follows the atrium, into which shell glands open. Posteriorly-orientated vagina and numerous uterine vesicles are situated medially to this pouch.
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Carolina Noreña, Daniel Marquina, Jacinto Perez, Bruno Almon
bibliographic citation
Noreña C, Marquina D, Perez J, Almon B (2014) First records of Cotylea (Polycladida, Platyhelminthes) for the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula ZooKeys 404: 1–22
author
Carolina Noreña
author
Daniel Marquina
author
Jacinto Perez
author
Bruno Almon
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Distribution

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Two specimens of Prostheceraeus vittatus were captured during this study. The first animal was collected from “A Tiñosa” (Ria de Arosa, Galicia, Spain) on a rocky bottom between Clavelina lepadiformis colonies, at a depth of 24 metres (42°32.8240N, 008°57.9920W). The other worm was found on stones in “Petón Bajo” (Ria de Arosa, Galicia, Spain), at a depth of 16 metres (42°32.9880N, 008°57.9920W). Prostheceraeus vittatus is known from the North Atlantic coasts of the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Scandinavia, Norway, Denmark, from the Mediterranean shores in Italy (Gulf of Naples) (Faubel and Warwick 2005) and Spain (Catalonia) (Novell 2003). This is the first record for the species from the North Atlantic side of the Iberian Peninsula.
license
cc-by-3.0
copyright
Carolina Noreña, Daniel Marquina, Jacinto Perez, Bruno Almon
bibliographic citation
Noreña C, Marquina D, Perez J, Almon B (2014) First records of Cotylea (Polycladida, Platyhelminthes) for the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula ZooKeys 404: 1–22
author
Carolina Noreña
author
Daniel Marquina
author
Jacinto Perez
author
Bruno Almon
original
visit source
partner site
Zookeys