Fossils have been found aged about eight million years of the ancestor (primitive) type of Ampelitsia in the Makrylia area in eastern Crete.
Ampelitsia, according to scientific records, grows in all the mountains of Crete, but almost 80% of the species' total population is located in the White Mountains and mainly in the areas: Omalos, Poria, Theriso, Zourva, Niatos plateau, Imbros and Elygia.
They subdue prey by wrapping their flexible body around it, pumping digestive enzymes onto the prey (or into its shell if it is a snail or oyster) with a tube-like projection of the mouth (pharynx).
Once the flesh is predigested and liquefied, it is pumped into the gut for further digestion and distribution.
Today it is forbidden by law to use abelitsia for making a katsouna, since it is made of an entire young tree.
Zelkova abelicea is a medium sized tree that grows from 3 m (10 ft) to 5 m (16 ft) tall.
In smaller populations it is found on Psiloritis, Kedros, Dikti and Thripti.
Some worm’s bodies have muscular edges that they can ripple to travel more rapidly, and they can even swim short distances in a current by undulating their body edge.
Branch cutting of young shoots also root with moderate success when taken in late mid to late summer.
This species is usually found on rocky, mountainous areas at altitudes between 850 and 1,800 m (2,790 and 5,910 ft).
The gut only has one opening, so what cannot be digested has to be eliminated through the mouth opening.
Flatworms may only reach 1 to 2 inches in length, but are voracious hunters and scavengers on the reef. They locate prey using chemical sensors at the head end of the body, either special sensory patches or folds along the front edge of the body and tiny antennae-like projections just behind the edge.
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It is found in small numbers and is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list of endangered species.