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New Zealand Flatworms Play a Huge Role in Agriculture

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The New Zealand Flatworm (Arthurdendus Triangulates) is an Invasive Species here in Ireland. It originates from New Zealand as the name implies and has spread extensively throughout Europe. It was first recorded in Northern Ireland in 1963. In 1963 it was looked upon as a novelty in gardens around belfast and was not seen as a pest that could in the future potentially do detrimental damage to agricultural land. In 1983 scientists discovered that these flatworms were preying on our native types of earthworms, and drastic falls in their numbers were seen in areas where the NewZealand Flatworms were abundant. Earth Worms play a huge beneficial role in Irish Agriculture land and gardens by improving drainage, aerating soil, mixing the soil structure and decomposing material, when they are preyed apon by the New Zealand Flatworm they can completely disappear in severe cases and in those areas the land can become water logged and as a result growth of plants suffer and the whole ecosystem is effected .
The worm is believed to have reached Ireland by the importation of exotic potted plants which contained the flatworms eggs mixed in throuh the potted soil. The worm has established itself mainly in the North of the Country but sightings have also been recorded in the West in County Mayo and County Sligo. The worm does not thrive in soil temperatures above 23 degrees which is why they are usually found in the North of which ever country they inhabit as soil temperatures are colder
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