Dr. Kate Rawlinson the scientist responsible for officially identifying the Acropora eating flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae and quite possibly the worlds foremost authority on them has teamed up with Cat Dybala, President of theMarine Aquarium Society of Houston to set up experimental systems specifically for culturing AEFW with the hopes of answering critical questions on its life cycle such as, How long does it take for the eggs to hatch? How long can the adults survive without food? and How long does it take for the worms to reach sexual maturity? The ultimate goal is to develop an empirically based protocol for control of these pests..
They have just launched a crowd funding site to raise money for the experiments and to help Kate travel from Canada to Texas to assist with experimental design and with the analysis – particularly of the embryos and hatchlings. They have 50 days to reach their target goal of $5,141. Any and all contributions would really go a long way toward helping to finally find a way to effectively treat and eradicate these troublesome pests from our aquariums.
Kate is truly an expert in the field having authored several articles on the subject including this detailed accounting of our current knowledge of the pests in our own Reefs Magazine:
Details of the project can be found here:
The Acropora-eating flatworm is a destructive predator of Acropora corals in aquariums. This research aims to uncover some key questions on the life cycle of this polyclad flatworm in order to develop a scientifically-based protocol for its control.
I am confident that this project is worthy of your support. Reefs.com will be making a contribution as well.