Platycoma sudafricana

Free-living marine nematodes form a large part of an unseen food chain and help to keep the world clean.

At 1mm long, Platycoma sudafricana is 1 of the larger free-living marine nematodes.  

By the size and shape of its mouth and teeth, it probably eats by scraping diatoms and plant particles (epi-growth) from the surface of single grains of sand.

Marine nematodes are sensitive to environmental changes including salinity, temperature and wave energy. They are being used increasingly to understand environments and aid conservation priorities.

Species detail

Platycoma sudafricana was first found in 1964 in Durban, South Africa.  2 male specimens were donated to the Natural History Museum, where it was described in 1966.

It is a marine, free-living nematode worm from the family Leptosomatidae.

It was one of 10 new species and 3 new genera described at the time, but new species continue to be frequently discovered on the east African coast.

  • Platycoma sudafricana
    Distribution

    Nematodes can be found almost anywhere in the world, but individual species have a restricted distribution. Find out what we know about Platycoma sudafricana’s distribution and habitat.

  • Platycoma sudafricana
    Conservation

    Nematode species are common in most marine environments, but their relative abundance can be affected by changes in conditions such as salinity, temperature and wave energy. This makes them useful for understanding environments and developing conservation priorities. Find out more.

Images

Platycoma sudafricana

This ‘working’ figure of a female Platycoma sudafricana head was produced as part of an international project, Transmap, to assess local turnover and regional biodiversity across the East African Marine Ecoregion. It was 1 of only 2 specimens found in Mozambique, on Inhaca Island, but appears to be a new record for the species.

Platycoma sudafricana

This ‘working’ figure of a male Platycoma sudafricana tail was produced as part of an international project, Transmap, to assess local turnover and regional biodiversity across the East African Marine Ecoregion. It was 1 of only 2 specimens found in Mozambique, on Inhaca Island, and appears to be a new record for the species.

Platycoma sudafricana

This figure was first published in 1966, describing Platycoma sudafricana from South Africa (Inglis, 1966).

About the author
Dr Nat Barnes BSc PhD
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Free-living nematode researcher and consultant, Department of Zoology.

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References

Inglis, W G, 1966. Marine nematodes from Durban, South Africa. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Zoology, 14 (4), 81–106.

Download a scanned version of Marine nemtodes from Durban, South Africa PDF (1.4 MB)