Well that was unbelievably lucky.
I just went out into the garden to attempt to find an animal called Caenoplana coerulea or the Blue Planarian (family Geoplanidae). I rarely see it around, occasionally on wet nights I suppose. One recent observation of it was seeing one preying upon a portugese millipede (Ommatoiulus moreleti).
Anyway, I didn't have high hopes but I was after a couple of photos so thought I'd wander around and try to find one. I sometimes see them under rocks and logs and the odd plant pot.
I lifted a single paver and there one was! Got my photos then went out again and continued searching, but with no luck this time around.
The bottom photo indicates how this creature got its common name and species epithet. The undersurface is a lovely blue colour (coerulea or caerulea means blue).
Interestingly there's another similar geoplanid species called Bipalium kewense, the shovel-headed garden worm. Check out the AustMus page for some pics and info. I bring it up because it was originally described in England from Kew gardens (hence kewense), and occurs all over the globe including in Sydney but is now thought to have originated somewhere in Indo-China, and spread from there in pot plant soil and the like.
I bring it up because I've now found out that Caenoplana is a good traveller too! When it was found in California in the fourties, it got described as a new species, Geoplana vaga, before the mistake was discovered. Now Ogren says: "Other localities are known in Tallahassee, Florida (1961); Statesboro, Georgia (1972); San Antonio, Texas (1978) and James Island, Charleston, [South Carolina]". And North Carolina. And Iowa, as of 1999.
I wonder where else it's got to? And what's the secret to the success of this species and Bipalium?
Ogren, R.E. (1989). Redescription and a new name for the blue land planarian Geoplana vaga Hyman now considered conspecific with Caenoplana coerulea Moseley from Australia (Turbellaria: Tricladida: Geoplanidae). Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 63, 135-142.