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FlatwormWatch: monitoring invasive flatworms using citizen science



This citizen science project is a collaboration between the Belgian National Scientific Secretariat on Invasive Species, UHasselt, UAntwerpen, Botanic Garden Meise and INBO. The main goal is to increase the probability of detection of flatworms, to disseminate information on their identification and impact, and in general to obtain more information on the issue of non-native flatworms in Belgium: the number of species, species identity, their distribution, their pathways of introduction and how common they are. This project will also help evaluate the potential of involving citizens in monitoring a cryptic, relatively unknown taxon. The project also pursues additional outcomes, both scientific and educational:
- Assess if some areas in Belgium are more at risk of introduction than others
- Gain insights on introduction pathways and behaviour of the non-native species of terrestrial planarians
- Contribute to building up a genetic database and enable identification at species and lineage level
- Raise awareness on IAS, the risks of introduction/spread, their impact, and more specifically on non-native terrestrial planarians and the importance of the EU Regulation, detection, reporting and rapid response
Status Running
Actual start/end date 01/05/2024 - 30/04/2025


INBO Research theme(s)

  • Invasive species


  • invasives
  • IAS
  • EUregulation