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The flatworms, known as Platyhelminthes are a phylum of fascinating, simple bilaterian, unsegmented, soft-bodied invertebrate animals. Unlike other bilaterians, they have no body cavity, and no specialized circulatory and respiratory organs, which restricts them to having flattened shapes that allow oxygen and nutrients to pass through their bodies by diffusion. The digestive cavity has only one opening for both the ingestion and expulsions of undigested wastes) -this means that food cannot be processed continuously. Platyhelminthes are divided into Turbellaria, which are mostly nonparasitic animals such as planarians, and three entirely parasitic groups: Cestoda, Trematoda and Monogenea. Free-living flatworms are mostly predators, and live in water or in shaded, humid terrestrial environments such as leaf litter. We are fortunate to have as a member of BowerBird, Dr Leigh Winsor from the Jame Cook University at Townsville who is a free-living flatworm expert. Leigh is most keen for members to find and upload images of flatworms. He would also like from time to time for members to collected into alcohol flatworms they find which will be used in his DNA analysis of this difficult group of animals.
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