What are the economic importance of platyhelminthes?
Platyhelminthes are flatworms. They mostly cause problems as parasites in humans and livestock. [ In Hawaii they are sometimes used to control snails.In Hawaii, the planarian Endeavouria septemlineata has been used to control the imported giant African snail Achatina fulica, which was displacing native snails, and Platydemus manokwari, another planarian, has been used for the same purpose in
Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea and Guam. Although A. fulica has declined sharply in Hawaii, there are doubts about how much E. septemlineata contributed to this. However, P. manokwari is given credit for severely reducing, and in places exterminating, A. fulica – achieving much greater success than most biological pest control programs, which generally aim for a low, stable population of the pest species. The ability of planarians to take different kinds of prey and to resist starvation may account for their ability to decimate A. fulica. However, these abilities have raised concerns that planarians may themselves become a serious threat to native snails.
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