A new invasive species of worm has been discovered and people are calling it a nightmare and described as dangerous worms that reproduce when they’re cut instead of dying.
The said worm is being called Hammerhead flatworms since it is very similar to the hammerhead shark, which is one species of worm that you need to be very careful around. Hammerhead flatworms are not a native type of worm and can seriously cause a lot of harm. Normally, regular and normal worms can help process the soil and break down nutrients so plants can grow strong and healthy, the hammerhead flatworm devours earthworms for lunch. It ultimately poses a risk to American farmers and anyone who relies on worms for their backyard garden.
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The Texas Invasive Species Institute says hammerheads are predators of the kindler, gentler earthworms that are necessary for the survival of forests, crops, and gardens.
They track them down, disable them by covering them with slime and eat them by stretching their “mouth” over part of the earthworm’s body and digesting it, according to Dr. Blake Layton Jr., an entomology expert with Mississippi State University.
The Hammerhead Flatworm: pic.twitter.com/Q0erE7LuRV
— The Prickly Orchard 🌵🌴🌲🌳 (@Mellado_Orchard) November 16, 2020
The toxins they use to paralyze the earthworm can cause skin irritation in people and animals can get sick if they eat the worms. Hammerheads also have the potential to carry parasites.
Oh, and did we mention they’re like little zombies that can grow new heads if you try to kill them?
As tempting as it may be, Morgan-Olvera said not to cut them because the worms can regenerate.
Instead, pick it up with a stick or paper towel, seal it in a zip lock bag with salt, and throw it away.
The best way to exterminate one of these worms is to step on it and squish it. Just make sure you step on the whole worm because it will be able to grow back into good health if part of it is left unhurt.
Another way to kill hammerhead flatworms is to put them in a plastic bag with salt inside of it. Make sure the bag is closed tightly because if there is a way out, the worm will probably be able to find it. The salt will dry out the worm, and it will die.
Once you see one of these worms, make sure not to panic but instead take some steps to eliminate it before it can cause any harm. And make sure you’re fully aware of how to identify them among the other nearly 2,700 different species of worms. In this way, we help protect our ecosystem by removing those who harm it.