Species in News: Marine flatworms


  • Marine researchers record a new marine flatworm in Rushikonda beach of Visakhapatnam, the first such documented record of the species as well as the order from the east coast of India.

About Marine flatworms

  • The vibrant coloured benthic organism was a species of polyclad flatworm Pseudoceros galatheensis, recorded for the first in Andhra Pradesh and East Coast mainland India.  New record of polyclad flatworm in Rushikonda coast in Visakhapatnam.

    marine flatworm
    Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
  • Marine flatworms, also called polyclads, are usually seen in nearshore areas in tropical and sub-tropical areas.
  • They are predatory and mainly feed on marine organisms like sponges, ascidians, crabs and other smaller organisms.
  • Their role is vital as predators in coral reefs and other shallow water marine ecosystems.
  • Their brilliant colour warns other predators that they are toxic and should not be consumed.
  • This species was first identified in the Andamans in 2017.
  • These organisms are usually seen in rocky as well as intertidal areas.
  • They have two folds on the anterior side called pseudo tentacles with around 12 eyes spots on each fold that are used for sensing light.
  • As thin as paper, they can surprisingly prey upon organisms like crabs by hunting them.
  • Though there are many recorded species of polyclad flatworms around the world, very less is known about them in the east coast of India, where the records were not described until recently.



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