No common name

Bdelloura candida

ORDER

Tricladida

FAMILY

Bdellouridae

TAXONOMY

Bdelloura candida (Girard, 1850), Massachusetts, United States.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Body lanceolate or oval shaped, lateral margins undulated, measure 0.6 x 0.2 in (15 x 4 mm) ranging up to 0.9 in (25 mm). Caudal adhesive disk wide as body and set off from the rest of the body; pharynx large about one-third of body; eye lenses absent; numerous testes distributed throughout body; whitish in color.

DISTRIBUTION

Same distribution as host Limulus polyphemus along eastern seaboard of United States from Maine south to the Gulf of Mexico.

HABITAT

Ectocommensal on the last pair of cleaning legs and gills of host.

BEHAVIOR

Obligate commensal in that it does not occur off its host. FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Most likely feeds on debris and food particles stirred up by its host.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Lays cocoons from May until mid-August on inner surface of gill lamellae of host. Cocoons are 0.15 in (4 mm) in length by 0.07 in (2 mm) in diameter and located on a pedicel 0.39 in (1 mm) high. Development is direct.

BEHAVIOR

During day, it remains in damp, dark areas under rocks and wood, and in soil. Under dry conditions, it may move further into soil to find favorable conditions.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

It captures earthworms by attaching ventral side of head and tail. Thrashing by prey results in planarian getting a better grasp on prey. Arthropods and mollusks are not preferred foods; slugs were only eaten if they were torn open first.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

No evidence for fragmentation, but it can regenerate if damaged. After mating, a cream-colored swelling is apparent in mid-region of body where cocoon is developing. Cocoons are yellowish when first deposited and change to light red and eventually shiny black and measure 0.13 in (3.3 mm). One to three juveniles hatch from each cocoon. Juveniles are grayish and lack stripes. It may take 100 days to reach adult size.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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