10 months ago

Selwyn Times: February 28, 2018

18 Wednesday

18 Wednesday February 28 2018 Latest Christchurch news at Backyard Critters SELWYN TIMES Slimy slug-like predators of the worm world Mike Bowie is an ecologist who specialises in entomology (insects and other invertebrates). Each week he introduces a new species found in his backyard at Lincoln. His column aims to raise public awareness of biodiversity, the variety of living things around us TERRESTRIAL flatworms are flat, slug-like, free-living soil fauna with unsegmented bodies. The dimensions of flatworms, also known as turbellaria, are not constant as they can change from short (1cm) and fat, to long (12cm) and skinny (0.5cm) at will. New Zealand is thought to have about 100 species, with numerous colours and patterns. However, individuals are usually striped, dotty or a single colour. Flatworms are very similar to slugs; being delicate, soft-bodied, susceptible to desiccation and the use of mucous. They are easily damaged and collected specimens usually die and decompose very quickly to a liquid. Being sensitive to sun, these critters are always found in cool, moist, snug places against soil. They’re often hiding under plant pots, plastic, flat wood, pavers, and the like. Their ability to squeeze into small holes and crevices helps them locate and consume earthworms, slugs and snails. These predators use their mucus to catch and digest their prey, which is swallowed through their mouth located half-way along its underside. Pale coloured egg capsules can be observed in the flatworm’s body prior to laying, at which time they darken to a shiny black ball about 5mm in diameter. The most well-known New Zealand flatworm species is arthurdendyus triangulatus. This voracious earthworm SLIMY: Terrestrial flatworms are similar to slugs. (Above) – Flatworms lay pale coloured egg capsules. predator has become a major threat overseas to European earthworm species. Each flatworm can eat at least one earthworm per week. Flatworms are thought to hitch-hike in pot plants transported around the world. Lincoln students race to start year LINCOLN University has started off the academic year with its own version of reality television show, The Amazing Race. The university welcomed its new students recently by getting them to race around the campus using an app called the Wild Goose Chase. The race was organised by the Lincoln University Students’ Association and featured an egg challenge, students drawing with their non-dominant hand and a gumboot throwing competition. The association also gave out goody bags and pots of noodles on the day. Other activities included giant inflatable balls and music. A media spokesman said the race was a different way for students to get to know the Lincoln campus. The university’s academic year started last week, while its orientation week started earlier this month. WELCOME TO UNI: New students ran around inside giant inflatable balls. (Right) – Lincoln University Students’ Association president James Ranstead handed out noodles. Whether it is a RELAXING WANDER, picking up some GROCERIES, buying that PERFECT GIFT, or a little well deserved SELF-INDULGENCE... AvonheadShoppingCentre | Cnr Withells Road & Merrin Street, Avonhead |

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