Art. XXIX.—Notes on a Land Planarian (sent by F. V. Knapp, Hampden State School, Nelson).
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 13th July, 1892.]
This worm is of some interest, as it is a land Planarian, and probably a new genus and species. Three species of marine Planarians have been described from New Zealand, but only one land form—Geoplana traversii—which was described by Mr. Moseley, of the “Challenger” Expedition, from two specimens collected by Mr. Travers, found by him near Wellington. The largest of these only measured 1in. in length, and from other characters was probably very different from the specimen now exhibited. Two genera are known in Australia—Geoplana and Rhynchodemus—and thirty-five species have been described of the former in Victoria, and only one of the latter. Last year Professor Spencer, of Melbourne, described eight species from Lord Howe's Island. Two belong to a new genus (Cotyloplana) and six to Rhynchodemus. The discovery of a New Zealand form is therefore important, so as to determine if it is more allied to the Lord Howe's Island form than to the Victorian. The specimen is, however, very distinct, I should think, even generically, from any that I can find described.
It is worthy of note that Professor Baldwin Spencer believes that the genus Geoplana is not represented in Lord Howe's Island, whereas Professor Moseley has referred our only hitherto known land Planarian to that genus. This would rather associate our zoological area with south-east Australia, whereas it is well known that in its fauna and flora Lord Howe's Island is far more related to New Zealand than to any part of Australia.