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PeerJ. 2014 Mar 4;2:e297. doi: 10.7717/peerj.297. eCollection 2014.

The invasive New Guinea flatworm Platydemus manokwari in France, the first record for Europe: time for action is now.

Author information

1
ISYEB, Institut de Systématique Evolution Biodiversité, UMR7205 CNRS, EPHE, MNHN, UPMC, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle , France.
2
School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University , Australia.
3
Service de Systématique moléculaire, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle , France.
4
Amateur Naturalist , Cagnes-sur-Mer , France.
5
Coordination technique et scientifique de la stratégie nationale relative aux espèces exotiques envahissantes, Service du Patrimoine Naturel, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle , France.

Abstract

Non-indigenous terrestrial flatworms (Platyhelminthes) have been recorded in thirteen European countries. They include Bipalium kewense and Dolichoplana striata that are largely restricted to hothouses and may be regarded as non-invasive species. In addition there are species from the southern hemisphere such as the invasive New Zealand flatworm Arthurdendyus triangulatus in the United Kingdom, Eire and the Faroe Islands, the Australian flatworm Australoplana sanguinea alba in Eire and the United Kingdom, and the Australian Blue Garden flatworm Caenoplana coerulea in France, Menorca and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has some twelve or more non-indigenous species most of which are Australian and New Zealand species. These species may move to an invasive stage when optimum environmental and other conditions occur, and the flatworms then have the potential to cause economic or environmental harm. In this paper, we report the identification (from morphology and molecular analysis of COI sequences) of non-indigenous terrestrial flatworms found in a hothouse in Caen (France) as the New Guinea flatworm Platydemus manokwari de Beauchamp, 1963 (Platyhelminthes, Continenticola, Geoplanidae, Rhynchodeminae). Platydemus manokwari is among the "100 World's Worst Invader Alien Species". Lists of World geographic records, prey in the field and prey in laboratories of P. manokwari are provided. This species is considered a threat to native snails wherever it is introduced. The recent discovery of P. manokwari in France represents a significant extension of distribution of this Invasive Alien Species from the Indo-Pacific region to Europe. If it escaped the hothouse, the flatworm might survive winters and become established in temperate countries. The existence of this species in France requires an early warning of this incursion to State and European Union authorities, followed by the eradication of the flatworm in its locality, tightening of internal quarantine measures to prevent further spread of the flatworm to and from this site, identifying if possible the likely primary source of the flatworm, and tracing other possible incursions that may have resulted from accidental dispersal of plants and soil from the site.

KEYWORDS:

Alien species; Biodiversity; Europe; France; Invader; Invasive species; Land planarian; Platyhelminthes; Threat to biodiversity

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