Obama nungara Flatworm

Obama nungara. Credit score: Pierre Gros

Citizen science reveals the presence of the flatworms in gardens in three quarters of metropolitan France.

One of many penalties of globalization is the inadvertent human-mediated unfold of invasive species. The presence of a brand new invader, named Obama nungara, is reported in France by a world workforce led by Jean-Lou Justine of ISYEB (Muséum Nationwide d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France). That is the primary examine of this invasion, reported in an article printed within the open-access journal PeerJ.

As is the case for different land planarians together with the New Guinea flatworm, Platydemus manokwari, and large hammerhead flatworms from Asia, already reported in France, the origin of the invasion by O. nungara is more likely to be through the worldwide commerce of crops, since grownup planarians and cocoons can simply journey in potted crops. Nevertheless, in distinction to the beforehand recorded species of land planarians which were discovered solely in a restricted a part of the nation, the flatworm Obama nungara is reported from an space representing three quarters of metropolitan France.

Land flatworms are predators of soil animals, together with earthworms and molluscs, and thus are a potential risk to the biodiversity of native animals and to soil ecology, though the ecological influence has but to be studied.

Obama nungara

Obama nungara killing a snail. Credit score: Pierre Gros

So far, the presence of Obama nungara has been sometimes recorded from a number of international locations in Europe, together with Spain, Portugal, UK, Italy, and Belgium. Nevertheless, in none of those international locations has a examine of the extent of the prevalence of O. nungara been carried out.

Observations in France, primarily based mostly on citizen science, embody 530 verified data acquired from 2013 to 2018. Outcomes present that the species is now current in 72 of the 96 Departments of Metropolitan France, an space representing 75% of the nation. The species is very ample in gardens alongside the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean coast. The species has additionally been recorded on Corsica within the Mediterranean Sea. Most data have been from a low altitude, and there aren’t any data of the species from mountainous areas such because the Alps, Pyrenees and Massif Central. New data from Italy and Switzerland are additionally included within the examine.

Obama nungara Invasion of France

The invasion of metropolitan France by Obama nungara. Credit score: Map by Jessica Thévenot

Molecular research, based mostly on the Cytochrome Oxidase Kind 1 sequences, present that Obama nungara has three populations: two in Argentina and one in Brazil. Solely one in all these populations, “Argentina 1” within the paper, is current in Europe, together with all France, and Spain, Portugal, UK, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland. The inhabitants from Brazil has not reached Europe; Argentina is the only supply of this invasive species in Europe.

The intensive distribution of the species and its reported native abundance, mixed with its predatory character, make Obama nungara a possible risk to the biodiversity and ecology of the soils in Europe. The authors estimate that O. nungara is essentially the most threatening species of all invasive land planarians current in Europe.

In a local weather of open science, the database of citizen science data and the molecular matrix are made public along with the paper. The authors point out that citizen science was extraordinarily helpful for evaluating the invasion, however urge to think about potential bias within the data, resulting from media protection. Point out of land flatworms within the media instantly produced bursts of data, due to this fact hampering an accurate evaluation of the abundance of the species over time. It’s anticipated that this new paper will encourage new data of Obama nungara from members of the general public, not solely in France however presumably different international locations.

Reference: “Obama chez moi! The invasion of metropolitan France by the land planarian Obama nungara (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae)” by Jean-Lou Justine​, Leigh Winsor, Delphine Gey, Pierre Gros, Jessica Thévenot, 6 February 2020, PeerJ.
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.8385


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