With magnificent colours, a flat appearance and ripple-like movement when swimming, the Persian carpet flatworm is a sight to behold.
The elusive creature, scientifically known as Pseudobiceros bedfordi, isn't often spotted along the coastal waters of the region but it was a lucky day for local diving instructor Steve Clarke when he came across one at Nudibranch Park.
“The Persian carpet flatworm is very rarely seen in Bargara,” he said.
“They grow to a maximum size of 10cm and live in a maximum depth of 10 metres.
“Different from nudibranch, they do not have external lungs or gills, they exchange gas across their body surface through diffusion.
“They have stunning colours and are not bad swimmers.”
Situated on Woongarra Scenic Drive, Steve said Nudibranch Park offered a an underwater world like no other in the region.
“We dive here once or twice a week. It has great rocky topography making great areas for coral growth and marine life,” he said.
“During the seasons we often find many different types of nudibranch, fish and great hard/soft corals growing right along the coastline.
“This site is tricky to enter and exit but well worth the effort. We make it safe and fun for all our divers.”
Steve said Persian carpet flatworms were usually found alone or in pairs, but not in groups, and were not often seen locally, even if the surrounding environment made the perfect home.
“They are mainly benthic and found in shallow marine habitats of reef coastlines, so Bundaberg is a perfect area with basalt ledges and rocky shore with hard substrates and soft corals being easily accessible from our shoreline,” he said.
“This was a rare find but if you look hard, you never know what you might find!”
Persian carpet flatworm interesting facts
Steve said the Persian carpet flatworm was an interesting creature with a few unique quirks.
“The Persian carpet flatworm is hermaphroditic, therefore, produces both eggs and sperm,” he said.
“During mating two flatworms will have a dual called a “penis fence” and the loser bears the burden of motherhood.
“While fencing they protrude a double pronged stylet from the ventral surface and insemination can take place on any part of the surface of the flatworms during their battle.”