Dáil Éireann - Volume 426 - 25 February, 1993

Written Answers. - Threat to Common Earthworm.

58. Mr. Kirk asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if there is any basis to a report (details supplied) that a common earthworm is under threat; the origin of the flatworm, Artioposthia triangulata, mentioned in the report; and the measures, if any, being taken to deal with the problem.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. J. Walsh): The terrestial flatworm, Artioposthia triangulata, is a native of New Zealand. Occasional incidences have been reported in Europe, which were presumably introduced on imported plants from New Zealand. The first record of it in Ireland was in a County Antrim garden in 1963. In recent years there has been a number of isolated occurences within the State.

The flatworm feeds on the common earthworm. My Department, Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland have been keeping a general monitor on the position relating to the New Zealand flatworm and on its movement. There is no evidence that it has caused any noticeable diminution in the general earthworm population. The position will continue to be kept under observation.