As early as the 18th century, the planarian flatworm of the genus Dugesia has been a great matter of interest within the scientific community largely due to their regenerative capabilities (Dasheiff 2002). Abundant, inexpensive, easy to cultivate and having a relatively short regeneration period make this planarian a stellar candidate for a host of ecological and pharmacological studies (Zhang et. al. 2012; Cebrià 2007).
D. dorotocephala belongs to the phylum Platyhelminthes, class Turbellaria, order Tricladida, and genus Dugesia. They are characteristically non-parasitic, acoelomate, bilaterally symmetric, and hermaphroditic. D. dorotocephala is a free-living flatworm that lives in freshwater streams or ponds where they are predators to smaller invertebrates (Reddien and Alvarado 2004).
These flatworms do not have a circulatory system present, rather gas exchange is achieved by diffusion through the body wall and excretion and osmoregulation are achieved by protonephridia. The body wall consists of longitudinal, diagonal, and circular muscles that are generally used in maneuvering obstacles rather than functioning in locomotion, which is reserved for their ciliated epithelium (Reddien and Alvarado 2004).
D. dorotocephala has a relatively simple brain and central nervous system: ventral longitudinal nerve cords connect to bi-lobed cephalic ganglia and basic sensory structures such as ocelli and auricles at the anterior end of the body that project to the cephalic ganglia (Reddien and Alvarado 2004).
D. dorotocephala is able to reproduce sexually or by fission, architomy or other forms of asexual reproduction. In close relation to their methods of asexual reproduction is their most notable feature: the ability to regenerate p...
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...gative behavior. This is not the case, however.
There are many ways in which this experiment could be improved. Among the replicates in the experiment, there was no consistency in the light source, intensity, duration of exposure or position of the light relative to the animal during the phototaxis experiments. This may have been the culprit of inconsistent results and observations of positive phototaxis. More precise methods of measurement are also needed. All around, greater uniformity in the methods of observation and experimentation among replicates would greatly improve the reliability of data collected. If future experiments can exert greater control of variation among replicates, the study of D. dorotocephala and its regenerative capacities can provide valuable information that has the potential to greatly benefit ecological and pharmacological research.