Aliens in Europe: Identifying Invasive Land Planarians by DNA-barcoding using currently available sequence data

Policy Concern Category: Invasive species

Alien terrestrial planarians have made their way to Europe in the past. Bipalium kewense and Dolichoplana striata are considered ‘old invaders’ from Asia and have been discovered/encountered in Europe since the 19th century. In the past decades a global trade in exotic plants has been established. As a result land planarians have been found in gardens, orchards, stores and greenhouses across Europe. These land planarians are predators of ground dwelling invertebrates and can severely disturb soil ecosystems, which in turn influences agricultural processes. Due to this potential danger, Arthurdendyus triangulatus (New Zealand flatworm) is the first flatworm which was added to the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern in July 2019 (EU 2019/1262).

BopCo investigates and evaluates the usefulness of publicly available DNA sequence data to reliably identify invasive flatworm species. The results are presented as factsheets (one per invasive alien flatworm species recorded in Europe) compiled using publicly available DNA sequence data and information aggregated from various sources. Each factsheet consists of two major parts; (i) a short introduction to the specific invasive alien species, compiling information on its taxonomy and current occurrence/distribution in Europe; (ii) an investigation with respect to the usefulness of publicly available DNA sequences for identification using DNA-barcoding.

Click here for factsheets of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern.

BopCo Coordinators: Ann Vanderheyden

Publications & Presentations: Currently, factsheets cover flatworm species listed below;

Factsheet Scientific name English name French name Dutch name Entry into force
Arthurdenduys triangulatus New Zealand flatworm ver plat de Nouvelle-Zélande Nieuw-Zeelandse landplatworm July 2019
Australopacifica atrata / / / /
Australoplana sanguinea Australian flatworm ver plat d'Australie Australische landplatworm /
Bipalium kewense hammerhead flatworm ver plat à tête de Marteau hamerhoofdlandplatworm /
Caenoplana coerulea (Australian) blue garden flatworm / blauwe tuinplatworm /
Caenoplana variegata yellow-striped flatworm rayée jaune grote Australische geelstreep /
Diversibipalium multilineatum / / / /
Dolichoplana striata / / crème tweestreep /
Kontikia ventrolineata / / kleine Australische tweestreep /
Marionfyfea adventor / / / /
Obama nungara Obama flatworm marron plate kastanjebruine landplatworm /
Platydemus manokwari New Guinea flatworm plathelminthe de Nouvelle-Guinée Nieuw-Guineese landplatworm /



Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith