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Macro photos of planaria flatworms

I posted a series of pictures of planaria on my blog today. I acquired these specimens from an infested aquarium at a local pet store. I think they are Cura foremanii, but I’m not completely sure. Photographing these little beasts couldn’t have been much easier. I just put them in a white tray holding a very shallow amount of water and shot them with a 35mm macro lens and ring flash, shooting straight down to avoid any reflections of the flash on the surface of the water. After taking a series of photos of the worms gliding around the tray I fed them some very tiny fragments of frozen bloodworms. The mouth of a planarian is in the middle of the ventral surface of the animal, and not in the head. These worms feed through a tube-shaped pharynx that extends out of the mouth. You can see in the photos below that the planaria feed by wrapping around the food item and positioning their ventrally positioned mouth against the food.

I just love these critters!


planaria copyright Ernie Cooper 2012 sm for post by ernie.cooper, on Flickr
planarian feeding cc copyright Ernie Cooper 2012 sm for post by ernie.cooper, on Flickr
find it fascinating that you can sever them multiple ways and they'd end up regenerating or creating new worms. :p
i remember seeing drawings of them in textbooks also and thought "why would they draw a realistic animal with cartoon eyes?" :lol:
I recall reading an article stating that if a large planaria eats a smaller specimen that has been trained to go around a maze, the large one will suddenly develop the ability to go around the maze. Pretty cool little dudes. And they have a lot of personality.

Loving the pics here and on your blog. Fantastic work.
Nice photos. Try adding a live snail to a container with these guys in it. Watch them head right for the snail. They'll kill it very quickly.
Very nice macro shots!

How many store clerks does it take to sell a praying mantis?
That is one hilarious story lol.
Is it just me or do other people think they're incredibly cute too? Those googly-eyes :love:
When I did it, the planaria almost immediately headed straight for the snail. I had them in a small plastic container of about 1 cup volume. They got into the shell before the foot could retract and latched on and killed it before a half hour was up. Maybe 6 planaria to one snail. My planaria came from the White Clay Creek in Avondale or Kennett Square PA.

Really? That's new to me...I'll give it a try. Would make an amazing series of photos...

Wow! I have Planaria, too. Cool little buggers!

I gotta try the snail thing.