Parasitic Polyclad Worms

Picture Credit score: 100%hydrophylic (ReefCentral)Parasitic Polyclad Flatworms and Eggs.

Polyclad worms are a kind of flatworm that may wreck havoc on our prized corals. On this article we’re going to try a selected kind of parasitic flatworm that some aquarists could also be unfamiliar with.

The identify “Polyclad” refers to its inner community of gastro-vesicular cavities (poly-clad) linked to its single mouth. These poly-clad cavities enable the worm to distribute meals all through their physique as it’s being consumed. They go unnoticed on corals as a result of they usually tackle the look or colour traits of the host coral, making them troublesome to note for the unaware eye.

The order of Polyclad worms is split into two sub-orders: cotylea and acotylea. The sub-orders differ by the presence of a suction organ.

Most of us are very conversant in AEFW (AKA acropora consuming flat worms) and the way large of a ache they are often in your pockets or pocketbook. However immediately we’re going to talk about a much less acquainted species of parasitic flatworm which is host particular to the household of corals, Euphylliidae.

Euphyllia consuming flat worms (EEFW) are straightforward to identify as soon as you realize what to search for and discovering them is just not an issue if they’re current in your aquarium. One of the best ways to verify for EEFW is to show the coral head the wrong way up and take a look at the bottom of the coral. Newly hatched flatworms are small in dimension however they will shortly develop as much as three inches in size! Like many coral consuming pests, these flat worms nearly all the time lay their eggs beneath the dwelling tissue of the coral alongside the skeletal base.

Euphyllia Coral Species:

ancora Veron & Pichon, 1980 – hammer coral
baliensis Turak, Devantier & Erdman, 2012 – bubble coral
cristata Chevalier, 1971 – grape coral
divisa Veron & Pichon, 1980 – frogspawn coral
glabrescens (Chamisso & Eysenhardt, 1821) – torch coral
paraancora Veron, 1990 – branching hammer coral
paradivisa Veron, 1990 – branching frogspawn coral
paraglabrescens Veron, 1990
yaeyamaensis (Shirai, 1980)

Remedy or Elimination

Fastidiously eliminated flatworm from E. glabrescens

Eradicating EEFW is basically fairly easy. One possibility possibility for removing is by utilizing a turkey baster. To carry out this method, take away the coral from the aquarium and place it in a container with aquarium water. Then merely blast the flat worms off the bottom of the coral with the baster till the worms loosen their grip and fall off to the underside of the container. An alternative choice is to easily raise them off the bottom of the coral with a scalpel. Personally I desire this technique and it solely takes a couple of minutes or much less to get rid of the entire seen adults from the coral. After the adults are eliminated you’ll want to search for eggs. Should you find grownup flatworms then you’ll most likely discover eggs hooked up to the coral skeleton. To take away the eggs I discover it straightforward to easily use a toothbrush to clean the floor of the coral base whereas the coral is outdoors of the aquarium. Fastidiously scrub them off whereas rinsing them off with water within the container. A turkey baster may also be used to blast any remaining eggs from the bottom of the coral. If the coral is sizable and a branching species then it might be essential to frag out the colony to get entry to the entire locations eggs might be hiding.

An alternative choice is to dip the coral in one of many many out there coral dips available on the market. Dips will be efficient at eradicating many aquarium pests however dips are sometimes solely efficient on adults whereas the eggs go unhurt. With that mentioned, dips might not be as efficient as merely eradicating them by mechanical means as described above. Moreover, coral dips may cause extra stress on an already careworn coral.

Mechanical removing could take a number of makes an attempt earlier than the worms are full gone from the aquarium. Sadly, it solely takes one worm or egg to make full eradication unsuccessful on the primary try. Polyclad worms are hermaphrodites they usually can reproduce asexually by budding or division. To make sure no stragglers are left behind we suggest checking the corals weekly to ensure no new adults seem on the corals. If new adults are found then repeat the removing steps above till no extra adults or eggs are noticed. Good luck and pleased reefing!

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