Common Name: Leopard Flatworm
Scientific Name: Pseudoceros pardalis
Species: P. pardalis
Pseudoceros pardalis, or the leopard flatworm is one of the most colorful and extraordinarily diverse marine flatworms. The P. pardalis can be found in all tropical, or subtropical waters. But, most P. pardalis are mainly found around the Bermuda Islands, Bermuda.
Though these flatworms don't look like much, they play a prominent role in the coral reefs. P. pardalis can range a measurement to about 5mm - 10mm. This flatworm like many others are unsegmented. Having bilateral symmetry the flatworm moves by using layers of muscles. They have fine hairlike cilia which covers there body to glide quickly on ocean floor. When disrupted, the pardalis can swim away quickly by moving their body in undulating waves of movement. Like all flatworms, P. pardalis do not have eyes unlike other animals. Instead these flimsy creatures have light seeing "eyes" to move either towards or away from rays of light on the ocean floor. Some other closely related flatworms, parasites, and flukes have different ways of seeing too. The other types of "eyes" are sensors on their body, chemicals, balance, and water movement receptors. The P. pardalis has a complete digestive system, along with a circulatory system.
The pardalis has no true predator to watch out for. No, these worms are more like the predator animals themselves. The P. pardalis feeds off of injured animals, dead animals, bryozoans, and soft corals. The P. pardalis can also feed by absorbing nutrients through their skin. They get rid of waste by using a specialized cell called "flame cells".
Pseudoceros pardalis are known for distinguished characters of their reproductive system. Some ways of their reproductive characteristics is the anatomy, hence, and species diagnoses. The males reproductive system is basically based on their coloration, and color pattern. There for, the female P. pardalis is more attracted to the male with the most and biggest spots.
Author: Savanna E.
Published 02 / 2008
Photo Credit: Marian K. Litvaitis