Flatworm. A predatory species of flatworm that has been intentionally and unofficially introduced to many islands throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans as a biological control agent for the giant African snail (Achatina fulica). It now poses a serious threat to native gastropod faunas , including rare, endemic snail species. Introduced to several islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans for biological control of the giant African snail (Achatina fulica), for example Samoa and Vanuatu (UN FAO , 2002). Considered to be effective at this task on Bugsuk Island in the Philippines (Muniappan et al., 1986), in the Maldives (Muniappan, 1987) and on Guam (Muniappan, 1990).
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Species Platydemus manokwari
A worm. Uniform exterior appearance . Adult length 40-65 mm, width 4-7 mm. Head end more pointed than tail end. Flattened cross section with thickness less than 2 mm. Color of dorsal surface very dark brown, almost black, with a thin medial pale line . Color of ventral surface pale gray. (de Beauchamp, 1963).
Generally found in leaf litter in both undisturbed forest and habitats heavily modified by humans. For example, found in leaf litter in high-altitude (>675 m ) cloud forest on the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia (Eldredge and Smith, 1995).
Ecology: P. manokwari poses a serious threat to native snails in the locations where it has been introduced . It is supposedly an effective gastropod predator , and is held responsible for the decline of many native snail populations (Eldredge and Smith, 1994, 1995), for instance on Guam, where it is endangering the endemic Partulidae, as well as ground-dwelling endemic snails (Eldredge and Smith, 1994, 1995; Hopper and Smith, 1992).
Hermphroditic, probably cross-fertilizing.
Members of the genus Platydemus
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- Barnes, 1968. de Beauchamp, 1963. Eldredge and Smith, 1994, 1995. Hopper and Smith, 1992. Muniappan, 1987, 1990. Muniappan et al., 1986.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-2005. Systema Naturae 2000. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. [http://sn2000.taxonomy.nl/Taxonomicon/]. Access date: Nov 23, 2005
- ISSG Global Invasive Species Database (http://www.issg.org/database)