Planaria FAQs

Planaria Facts
Planaria belong to the phylum, Platyhelminthes, (flatworms).
They are a free-living, flat bodied, freshwater creatures that exhibit the remarkable ability

to regenerate their lost body parts.
It lives in lakes, streams, ponds, and other freshwater bodies
The planarian is non-parasitic, and eats decaying meat.
The body includes:

  • a simple nervous system that includes a ‘brain’
  • muscle bundles
  • an internal reproductive system
  • a blind gut branching through the body
  • an excretory system that includes specialized cells called ‘flame cells’

They can be conditioned to respond to stimuli, display the ability to master a two-choice maze, and can transfer the memory of training from one individual to another.

To keep a planaria culture alive follow these tips:

  • Use only ‘spring water’ or ‘pond water’, not distilled water ( it doesn’t contain any of the minerals and nutrients they need to survive) or tap water (the chlorine or flouride etc. that’s in tap water will kill them)
  • Feed them little bits of hard cooked ‘egg yolk’ every few days – to a week at most. Some varieties will eat liver or tubifex worms, but that’s very smelly and messy.
  • Don’t feed them at all during their mating season during February-March.
  • After you feed them (let them eat for about 30 minutes – 1 hour at most) make sure you change their water (rinse them off carefully) and add fresh water. This prevents any uneaten food from decaying and dirtying the culture. They also create a ‘slime’ that needs to be removed.
  • Keep them at a reasonable room temperature (68-72 degrees). Do not refidgerate them.
  • Do not expose them to harsh light. In fact, keep them in the dark for most of the time; maybe in the container they came in with a lid (loosley closed) and store it in a closed cupboard.
  • They are sensitive to extremes of light, temperature, and ph. Being such sensitive creatures, when you begin your experiments, any changes you may make in their environment should be the smallest that you can measure.

If you want to learn more about Planaria:
Your local library should have special reference science books in the “Reference Section”, ask your librarian where they are kept.

Carolina Biological Supply Company is a great source of information, materials, and cultures. They have a lot of stuff and ideas for experiments. They offer a super collection of science books too.

ALL the information we have about planaria is listed here . . .but, if you have any specific questions:

send email to Jon

Hope you have found this information useful. Thanks for coming by!

I made this homepage using HotDog©

© 1996-2009 Jonathan

Jon started this info page while in elementary school. He participated in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science and won numerous awards at the regional and state level for his projects on planaria.

This page has had so much interest I thought I’d keep it.

© 1995-2012 Ginette Isenberg

Leave a Reply