Fabulous Flatworms

Identify and learn more about these beautiful marine polyclads.

Winner of the 2005 Whitley Award for Interactive Key.

Fabulous Flatworms enables users to distinguish and learn about hundreds of marine polyclads, commonly known as flatworms. Using an innovative key based on body patterns, it allows both amateurs and specialists to identify these beautiful underwater creatures.

Over 1200 colour photographs showcase the diversity of patterning and colour found across some 400 species of flatworms from around the world. For each species there are notes on appearance, size, habitat and distribution as well as multiple photographs to highlight their variability. A section on look-a-likes explains how to distinguish them from the more well known, but unrelated nudibranchs and other animals.

A wealth of information is also provided on their unusual biology, including videos of their more remarkable behaviours, and tips on collecting, handling and identifying these fragile animals.


"This splendidly illustrated CD offers the ecologist and natural historian a simpler means of identification… supported by excellent colour photographs... There are hints on finding, collecting, and preserving specimens, and some details on DNA analytic techniques. In other sections the reader can discover information on anatomy, habitat, life history, behaviour, reproduction, diversity and evolution of the group. Overall, a veritable tour de force."
Scoresby Shepherd (AMSA Bulletin Summer 2006)

“Polyclads are some of the most extraordinary and spectacular marine organisms. Fabulous Flatworms will open this world to the novice or serious student.”
Professor Terrence Gosliner, California Academy of Sciences, USA

“This is something to get very excited about if (like me) you are interested in flatworms. If you have never heard of them, then this is a marvellous introduction to a fascinating and amazing group of animals.”
Jacquie Sheils (Wildlife Australia v.42 no.2 Winter 2005)


  • Provides a means to identify hundreds of marine polyclads from around the world based on their external body patterning
  • Includes over 1200 striking underwater photographs of polyclad flatworms, with multiple photos of many species.
  • Contains keys to family groups and common genera, known and unidentified species (Phylum Platyhelminthes : Order Polycladida)
  • Gives detailed descriptions for over 400 species including notes on appearance, size, habitat, distribution and key references.
System Requirements

  • Windows 98, 2000, NT, ME, XP
  • Pentium III 1 GHz
  • 128 MB RAM
  • SVGA monitor (800 x 600 with millions of colours)
  • CD-ROM drive (52x)
  • Media Player (for video content) Macintosh
    • Macintosh System 9.1, 9.2 or Mac Classic for up to System 10.3
    • Macintosh G3 350 MHz
    • 128 MB RAM
    • SVGA monitor (800 x 600 with millions of colours)
    • CD-ROM drive (52x)
    • Quicktime (for video content)
    Note: This CD-ROM is not networkable.
  • Authors

    Dr Leslie J Newman is a world authority on polyclad flatworms, having discovered and described more than 100 new species. A graduate in marine biology from the University of Guelph, Canada, Leslie completed her doctoral studies in Queensland. Formerly the Curator of the Marine Department at Auckland Museum, New Zealand, she is now associated with the Biodiversity Program at Queensland Museum, Australia.

    Dr Lester Cannon has retired as Senior Curator of lower invertebrates at the Queensland Museum, Australia. He undertook his doctoral studies at the University of Toronto, Canada, and pursued his post-doctoral studies on parasite ecology in California, USA.