Australoplana sanguinea



Conservation status

Not Assessed

Native status


First reported in the wild



Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Irish status


Introduction pathways - 1

Transport Contaminant

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Contaminant nursery material

Invasive score


NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


Small flatworm, pink or peach in colour with a pink head and pale yellow underside, 3-8mm wide, 4cm while moving, 2cm at rest, flattened or oval in cross section, two barrow pale grey lines running the length of the body close to the midline (Booy et al., 2015). Unlike New Zealand flatworm does not coil when at rest (Booy et al., 2015).


Has been shown to affect diversity and abundance of earthworm species in domestic gardens (Santoro & Jones, 2001), but the effects on a wider spatial scale are unknown.


Constructed, industrial or other artificial habitats; Regularly or recently cultivated agricultural, horticultural or domestic habitat; Grasslands and landscapes dominated by forbs, mosses or lichens; Miscellaneous


Hermaphrodite, lays black eggs.

Pathway and vector description

First recorded in Ireland in the 1970s (Anderson, 1986), the exact timing and mechanism of its arrival is not known. However given the propensity of records in gardens and nurseries for various planarian (flatworm) species it is likely that this is the source of the introduction.

Mechanism of impact


Broad environment


Habitat description

Found mainly in gardens and maintained grassland but this may be an artefact of recording effort than a true distribution.

Species group


Native region



World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Established - Occasional though locally abundant (McCarthy, 1993). Records for this species are currently scattered and sparse. This is likely an artefact of recording effort rather than a true distribution. If the distribution of flatworms found in the United Kingdom is indicative (Jones & Boag, 1995) this species would be expected to be more abundant in the south of the country than the north. However due to the nature of spread (contaminant in nursery material) it is likely occur throughout the country.

Native distribution

Native to Australia and New Zealand (Booy et al., 2015).

Temporal change

Date of first record category


Fifty year date category


Records submitted to Data Centre in 2020

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How can you help

Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.



Anderson, R. (1986). The land planarians of Ireland (Tricladida: Terricola) a summary of distribution records. The Irish Naturalists' Journal, 141-146.

Booy, O., Wade, M., & Roy, H. (2015). Field guide to Invasive Plants & Animals in Britain. Bloomsbury.

Jones, H. D., & Boag, B. (1996). The distribution of New Zealand and Australian Terrestrial flatworms (Platyhelminthes: Turbellaria: Tricladida: Terricola) in the British Isles—the Scottish survey and MEGALAB WORMS. Journal of Natural History, 30(7), 955-975.

McCarthy, T. K. (1993). The exotic land planarian Geoplana sanguinea (Moseley) naturalized in the Galway area (Turbellaria, Tricladida, Terricola). Irish Naturalists' Journal, 24(6), 257-258.

Santoro, G., & Jones, H. D. (2001). Comparison of the earthworm population of a garden infested with the Australian land flatworm (Australoplana sanguinea alba) with that of a non-infested garden. Pedobiologia, 45(4), 313-328.

CABI Datasheet