Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Divided Flatworm

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

On land, slugs and worms are generally unattractive and, to some tastes, repulsive and vile. In the marine environment, however, they can be quite beautiful with dazzling colors and dramatic patterns. Generally speaking, such coloration is a warning to would-be predators that this is a toxic creature and should be avoided.  Such is the case with the divided flatworm which is extremely delicate and lacks any other form of defense yet roams freely on the reef in broad daylight, unmolested. Most individuals have the branching pattern shown here but some have irregular blotches. All divided flatworms have the double yellow line down the center much like the centerline of a divided highway, hence the common name (not really). These are small creatures usually around an inch in length.

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