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east yorkshire, United Kingdom Gb

Friend or Foe
Native or Alien species?

They are rather slimy things so if you don't like slugs etc look away!
I bought a plant today [no surprise there] from a good local independent nursery. I picked it from a waterlogged spot in the nursery beds.
When I came to plant it I found these 2 critters in the bottom on the surface of the roots.
I think I know what it is but I'd like confirmation. Then advice as to what to do with them. They are in a jar with cling film to stop them escaping. 4cm contracted stretching to 10cm. No clear segments nor any clear eye spots



19.5.13_004 19.5.13_005

Answers

 

I have no idea what they are SBG but I'm commenting coz I'd love to know!

18 May, 2013

 

They look like leaches to me. Yuk! Take them back to the gc and tell them they can keep them!

18 May, 2013

 

Oh gosh Seaburn, I do hope you weren't charged extra for the livestock, I'm never sure about which ones are the friends in our gardens, I have a vague recollection of a member saying which ones did no harm in the gardens but cannot for the life of me remember who it was, hopefully you'll get an answer and we'll all know.........

18 May, 2013

 

The first one looks suspiciously like a New Zealand Flatworm to me.
The second is a bit hard to see really.

19 May, 2013

 

NZ Flatworms are just that, very flat and the top one seems to be rounded. I thought it was a slug at first but it could be a leach or something completely different! I think that the bottom one is an egg case and may potentially contain hundreds more of the top ones!!!!!!!

19 May, 2013

 

When I saw your question and before I saw the photo my thought was 'New Zealand flatworm' but, as Bulba says, they really are flat and don't contract and stretch.

19 May, 2013

 

the second one is a view of the underside of the first one, through the glass.
they are very flat and leeches have clear rings of body segments and these don't have any obvious segments.
they are definitely flat worms but which ones? Their movement can be a gliding motion like a slug or more contractile like a worm.

They are both alive and well in the jar this morning.
Googling images of nz flatworms does throw up images like these critters. But try googling british flatworms and you get lots of images of the nz one.

I have sent pictures off to the RHS help line and to NHM to see what they suggest. I just thought I'd see if anyone on here has had anything like them in their experience.

But they are definitely not slugs nor a true worm which is segmented such as leeches and earthworms.

I'll keep you posted.

19 May, 2013

 

Put a small earthworm in with it, if it eats it then it is a NZ flatworm.

19 May, 2013

 

You could email Defra too....or Fera the research people
Ifs that the head end it does look leechish.....
Will watch thnis with interest Seaburn.

19 May, 2013

 

just a comment to find out what it is

19 May, 2013

 

They're leeches. Harmless. Pop them back into the pond.

19 May, 2013

 

The rule always used to be ' If they move quickly they are the gardener's friend. If they move slowly or not at all they are enemies.'

20 May, 2013

 

well they are NZ flatworms. I have a contact at the NHM who is re-cataloguing many of the invert species and he kindly id'd them for me.

the pictures also match the defra info sheet. they are now dead flatworms.
Leeches have clearly body segments Worthy as they belong to the Class Annelida, the true worms.

20 May, 2013

 

Do you think they were imported with the plants?
Maybe you should contact the nursery where the plant came from Seaburn?

20 May, 2013

 

sorry that should say Phylum Annelida, Class Hirudinia re the leeches.

I did ring the nursery when I first found them and he said they were skinny slugs and he doesnt import plants from New Zealand!

20 May, 2013

 

Oh........

20 May, 2013

 

Present the nursery with the defra information sheet. Skinny slugs indeed!

20 May, 2013

 

N Z flatworm isn't just in New Zealand, we have it in our village!

20 May, 2013

 

The RHS have replied and also say NZ flatworm. I don't think I will be using that nursery again.

20 May, 2013

 

Try reporting them to DEFRA

20 May, 2013

 

Sbg, I stand corrected. I've looked more closely and I can see they're not as evenly shaped as leeches. Apologies. And I was born in Auckland!

20 May, 2013

 

Defra's site says there is no need to report them as they are very widespread.

20 May, 2013

 

Yes they are - far more widely than most folk realise! Thankfully our native earthworms seem to be withstanding their attacks.

20 May, 2013

How do I say thanks?

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