Story: Marine animals without backbones

Multivirile flatworm

Multivirile flatworm

Most marine flatworms are free-living, found on the sea floor around seaweed and rocky reefs. They are often fragile and will break into pieces if touched. Although they have simple bodies, their reproductive system is complex. Each worm has both male and female parts. This thumb-sized flatworm from Kaikōura has between 226 and 229 penises arranged in a band around its thin body, and a central vagina.

About this item

Private collection
Photograph by John J. Holleman

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How to cite this page:

Dennis Gordon and Maggy Wassilieff. 'Marine animals without backbones - Simple worms', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 14-Nov-12
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/5852/multivirile-flatworm