The section was established after the fusion of the Natural History Museum Görlitz with Senckenberg in 2009. In August 2013, the reference collection contains more than 500 permanent slides of terrestrial free-living flatworms from different habitats in Central Europe, with a main focus on Saxony. An extension is planned to other central-european regions and also to limnic and marine Plathelminthes.
One of the challenges in preservation of free-living Plathelminthes is the embedding, as characters of identification such as protonephridia, genitals and other specific tissues become invisible in the embedding process, unless there are cuticular structures. This is the reason why we were testing a variety of stains and fixatives in order to see which are most suitable in preserving as many characters as possible in embedded specimens. Until now Polyvinyl-Lactophenol mixed with some drops of Chloralzolschwarz and also Euparal achieved good results. An additional pretreatment of specimens with the fixing agent TAF (Trimethylamin, Aqua, Formalin) and the vital stain neutral red may be beneficial.
In order to supplement and illustrate the characteristics that cannot be preserved in permanent slides, a collection of photographs is being built up that captures the animals alive with their decisive structures.