Nature Today |  Imposing emerging flatworm looking for a name

Nature Today | Imposing emerging flatworm looking for a name

Flat, like a pancake or French crepe. But then it is oval, elongated, wavy and the color of a slice of liver sausage. This is how divers describe the new resident of Zeeland. Since the beginning of August, this new animal has been seen off the Dutch coast more and more often. As is the case of the dive site Zeelandbrug, where both the attached photos and the film stills below were taken.

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New flatworm on August 22nd at the Zeeland Bridge (Source: Marco Finke)

First notifications

On 14 August 2023, Ferry Stamm reported on the Stichting ANEMOON Facebook page that he saw a worm unknown to him at the Zeeland Bridge. On the same day, Marilyn Business announced that she and her friend Martine Williams had also noticed the animal there a few days earlier. Responses to these messages showed that divers also encountered these worms at other dive sites, such as Wemeldinge, Plompe Toren and Putti’s Place. Cinematic images, taken by Marco Fincke on August 22 at the Zeeland Bridge, clearly show the majestic animal’s movement. This mainly relates to observations at a relatively greater depth, between 14 and 20 metres.

Thinking along… the competition?

While working on a scientific publication, we ask the readers of this Nature Report to think of a Dutch name. There are some very cute names on the list already in circulation. But, undoubtedly, readers also know the beautiful proper names? We are pleased to conduct a draw for a prize among the participants. For example, a book on beach finds or beautiful research maps, we can work that out in consultation. Can you help?

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At least some Dutch names

At the moment, the origin of the animal is not 100 percent certain. It could be a strange object from far away, or some kind of Atlantic Ocean moving north. Similar to the species in the family pseudoespecially with Big pseudo But as long as there is uncertainty about the origin and DNA testing continues, names like “Asian flatworm” or “Atlantic flatworm” will be dropped. In Dutch nouns it is best to use shape or color anyway. Habits and food are also possible, but not much is known about that either. Anyway, the animal is big. Size reports vary, but it’s a minimum of four inches (there are reports from twelve to six inches, but eyeglasses tend to make things bigger). The animals are flesh-colored and purple-brown with light spots. The edge is strikingly folded and wavy, like ruffles on classic garments. Among the names that we have already seen, we mention the following twelve: crepe worm, pie worm, giant flatworm, giant flatworm, large flatworm, zigzag worm, liver flatworm, ruffle flatworm, wavy flatworm, wrinkled flatworm, Flatworm, folded flatworm. Will you help with the choice or do you know another catchy name? Then tell us and email Stichting ANEMOON.

The strongly wavy edges are striking

About label

Since the works of Linnaeus, all animals on Earth have been referred to by a two-part (binary) scientific name. This is written in Latin, or at least in Latin, and applies throughout the world. This system is genius in its simplicity. Usually, the person describing an animal species for the first time for scientific purposes gives it a name. It often depends on the characteristics of the animal or the group to which the animal belongs. For example, a brittle starfish with collapsed legs is called a swift Ophiothrix fragile Friendly bristly hair of different colors Assorted color sweatshirt. The second part of the name is specific to that one species, the first part indicating the family name or relationship with similar species. For example, there are many starfish in the genus / genus oviotrex Of the family Ophiotrichidae.

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Dutch names

Prior to Linnaeus’s system, the nomenclature was mixed and different names were used for the same species in each country. In “D’Amboinsche Rariteitkamer” by Georg Eberhard Rumpf (1627-1702), also known as Rumphius, published in 1705, names such as Bootshaak, Devil’s Claw, Ajuynschil, Bagynedrol and Gaper appear for shells. In English, German or French, the same type was referred to differently. In the current scientific system, this is no longer necessary. Nevertheless, the use of folk names (“vernacular names”: names in a regional or national language) continued to exist, albeit always next to the only proper scientific name, in other words in second place.


All species already have a “true” scientific name. Does the Dutch name still matter? Yes. Birds, mammals, and plants, among other things, often use only the Dutch name. And after invertebrates such as snails and mussels were also given a permanent Dutch name, they became accessible to a much wider audience. We’ve seen species become better participants in nature’s politics in the sea, in freshwater, and on land. A report on the Sticky Pond Snail’s decline fits every newspaper, like this one Mixas glutinosa It only attracts experts. Dutch names appear in tools such as apps and websites/platforms for reporting feedback. like on in It makes monitoring in the field easier and more enjoyable. Also for young people who take care of our nature. Young people in particular are very creative with finding names. Think of all sorts of now-established names like the tractor wheel, the belt, the diesel train worm, all of which originated within the Young Nature Leagues (eg NJN and JNM-Jongeren in de Nature). very young and very old; Submit name suggestions!

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Text: Riquel De Bruyne, Brendan Onck, Ange Van Lente, Anemon Foundation
Photos: Marion Harsma (main photo: the recently discovered flatworm from Oosterschelde, new to our country
Film: Marco Finke

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