Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2017-01-17
Page range: 291–322
Abstract views: 62
PDF downloaded: 5

Land flatworms (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae) of São Tomé: a first account on their diversity, with the description of five new species

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands Department of Zoology, Institute of Biology, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
Associação Monte Pico, Monte Café, São Tomé and Príncipe
Department of Herpetology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA
Platyhelminthes Tricladida Microplaninae new species Othelosoma Bipalium São Tomé


The present contribution provides the first faunistic and taxonomic account of six species of land flatworm from the island of São Tomé, including five new species of the genus Othelosoma Gray, 1869 and the introduced Bipalium kewense Moseley, 1878. One of the new species represents the first African land flatworm that has specks on its dorsal body surface, instead of stripes or a more or less uniform colouration. At least two of the new species were observed to prey on snails. The study details the fourth record of a sclerotic spermatophore in a species of land flatworm, and discusses the definition and homology of double female genital canals in African and Indian species of the genus Othelosoma.



  1. Carvalho, M., Rego, F., Palmeirim, J.M. & Fa, J.E. (2015) Wild meat consumption on São Tomé Island, West Africa: implications for conservation and local livelihoods. Ecology and Society, 20 (3), 1–27.

    Cracraft, J. (1983) Species concepts and speciation analysis. Current Ornithology, 1, 159–187.

    Cracraft, J. (1987) Species concepts and the ontology of evolution. Biology and Philosophy, 2, 329‒346.

    De Beauchamp, P. (1913) Voyage de Ch. Alluaud et R. Jeannel en Afrique Orientale (1911-1912) - Resultats Scientifiques, 22 pp.

    De Beauchamp, P. (1951) Turbellariés de l'Angola (recoltes de M.A. Barros Machado). Publicações Culturais da Companhia de Diamantes de Angola (Museu do Dundo, Subsídios para o Estudo da Biologia na Lunda), 3, 75‒84.

    De Beauchamp, P. (1956) Trois Planaires terrestres du Congo belge. Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines, 53, 118‒130.

    Freisling, J. (1935) Űber die Rhynchodemiden (Turbellaria, Tricladida-Terricola) der Gattung Rhynchodemus Leidy und Artiocotylus Graff und ihre weiblichen Geschlechtsgänge. Mitteilungen des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereines für Steiermark, 72, 5‒22.

    Gascoigne, A. (1994) The biogeography of land snails in the islands of the Gulf of Guinea. Biodiversity and Conservation, 3, 794‒807.

    Heinzel, L. (1929) Zur Kenntnis der Rynchodemiden. Zoologische Jahrbücher, Abteilung für Systematik, Ökologie und Geographie der Tiere, 56, 425‒462 + 2 pls.

    Humason, G.L. (1967) Animal tissue techniques. W. H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco and London, 569 pp.

    Jones, H.D. (1998) The African and European land planarian faunas, with an identification guide for field workers in Europe. Pedobiologia 42, 477–489.

    Jones, H.D. (2004) A new species of land planarian (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida: Terricola: Rhynchodemidae) from South Africa, with a list of African terrestrial planarian species. African Zoology, 39, 31–40.

    Jones, H.D. (2005) A new land planarian species of the genus Othelosoma (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida: Terricola: Rhynchodemidae) from the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. African Zoology, 40, 99–106.

    Marcus, E. (1953) Turbellaria Tricladida. In: Institut des Parcs Nationaux du Congo Belge, Exploration du Parc National de l'Upemba, Mission G. F. de Witte, Fasc. 21, 1‒62.

    Marcus, E. (1955a) Turbellaria. In: Hanström, B. (Ed.), South African Animal Life – Results of the Lund University Expedition in 1950-1951, Vol. 1. pp. 101‒151.

    Marcus, E. (1955b) Turbellaria Tricladida. In: Exploration du Parc National de la Garamba, Mission H. de Saeger, Institut des Parcs Nationaux du Congo Belge, Fasc. 3, 1‒30.

    Meixner, J. (1928) Der Genitalapparat der Tricladen und seine Beziehungen zu ihrer allgemeinen Morphologie, Phylogenie, Ökologie und Verbreitung. Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Ökologie der Tiere, 11, 570‒612.

    Mell, C. (1904) Die von Oscar Neumann in Nordost-Afrika gesammelten Landplanarien. Zoologische Jahrbücher, Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere, 20, 471‒492.

    Murchie, A.K. & Gordon, A.W. (2013) The impact of the New Zealand flatworm, Arthurdendyus triangulatus, on the earthworm populations in the field. Biological Invasions, 15, 569‒586.

    Pantin, C.F.A. (1953) On the name of the ground fluke Fasciola terrestris O. F. Müller, Othelosoma symondsi Gray, and on the genus Amblyplana von Graff. Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology, 42, 207‒218.

    Sluys, R. (1991) Species concepts, process analysis, and the hierarchy of nature. Experientia, 47, 1162‒1170.

    Steinböck, O. (1924) Untersuchungen über die Geschlechtstrakt-Darmverbindung bei Turbellarien nebst einem Beitrag zur Morphologie des Trikladendarmes. Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Ökologie der Tiere, 2, 461‒504.

    Vila-Farré, M., Sluys, R., Mateos, E., Jones, H.D. & Romero, R. (2011) Land planarians (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida: Geoplanidae) from the Iberian Peninsula: new records and description of two new species, with a discussion on ecology. Journal of Natural History, 45, 869‒891.

    Von Graff, L. (1899) Monographie der Turbellarien II. Tricladida Terricola (Landplanarien). I-XII + 574 pp. Atlas von Achtundfünfzig Tafeln zur Monographie der Turbellarien II. Tricladida Terricola (Landplanarien). Pls. I-LVIII. Wilhelm Engelmann, Leipzig.

    Von Graff, L. (1912–1917) Tricladida. In: Bronn, H.G. (Ed.), Klassen und Ordnungen des Tier-Reichs, Bd. IV Vermes, Abt. IC: Turbellaria, II Abt.: Tricladida. C. F. Winter, Leipzig, pp. I- XXXVII + pp. 2601–3369 + 34 plates.

    Winsor, L. (1983) A revision of the cosmopolitan land planarian Bipalium kewense Moseley, 1878 (Turbellaria: Tricladida: Terricola). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 79, 61‒100.

    Winsor, L. (1991) A new genus and species of terrestrial flatworm from the central highlands of New Caledonia (Tricladida Terricola). Mémoires du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, ser. A. 149, 19‒13.

    Winsor, L. & Sluys, R. (in prep.) Basic histological techniques for planarians. In: Rink, J. (Ed.), The planarian model system – Methods and Protocols, Springer.