New Zealand Flatworm Survey 2020/21

We are inviting members and non-members to join in an Orkney-wide survey of the distribution of New Zealand Flatworm (and indeed earthworms) to find their current distribution and abundance throughout the County.

This is a project that anyone with a garden and/or allotment can take part in, even during ‘lockdown’, so happy searching and please feel free to pass this survey request on to any friends, relations, neighbours or gardeners who may want to take part. The more records we receive and the wider the geographical spread they cover, then the better the resulting picture will be. Negative records, of both the flatworms and/or earthworms, are also very useful, so we very much welcome all responses. 

Here's a link to the April 2020 OFC newsletter in which you can find some more information, a simple questionnaire and also a recording form - feel free to use either or both to let us know your findings.

Here's some information about NZ flatworms from the OFC 2013 bulletin by B. Boag and R. Neilson of the James Hutton Institute, Dundee. -

New Zealand flatworms are usually found during the day, often curled up like a Swiss roll, under pieces of wood, stone or polythene lying on bare earth. They are relatively flat compared with earthworms, are pointed at both ends and covered with a sticky mucus. They can vary in colour but usually have a dark brown upper surface with a lighter beige speckled border which extends to cover the ventral surface. Flatworms can also vary greatly in shape from long and narrow (up to 15 cm) to short and relatively fat. They produce egg capsules which look like small, shiny blackcurrants.”

The main questions we are looking for answers for are -

1. Do you currently have NZ flatworm in your garden/land now and how many/how frequently seen are they? 

2. Have you ever seen NZ flatworm there (dates if possible) and have there been changes in flatworm/earthworm populations over the years?

3. Do you have earthworms in your garden/land now and are they abundant or not?

Any additional relevant information is very welcome.

Please email responses to us via -  [email protected]

We look forward to hearing from you and we will report the findings to members through newsletters, our Facebook page and the 2021 bulletin and records will be passed to the local Orkney Wildlife Information and Records Centre (OWIRC).

Thank you!



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