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Author Topic: Hammerhead Worm  (Read 1652 times)

Offline The15thMember

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Hammerhead Worm
« on: November 12, 2022, 07:18:39 pm »
My mom found a hammerhead worm in the garden today.  Has anyone else ever seen one of these?  They are a terrestrial flatworm that is invasive here.  They eat earthworms, snails, and slugs.  Hammerhead worms are covered in an extremely sticky mucus which contains tiny amounts of tetrodotoxin, the same toxin produced by pufferfish.  They are the only land invertebrate known to produce this type of neurotoxin.  They don't produce enough toxin to harm humans, but you should definitely wash your hands after touching them, because you wouldn't want to get their secretions in your eyes or mouth.  We killed the one we found by putting it in the freezer in some vinegar, since we didn't want it to eat the earthworms in our garden.  If you ever see one and want to kill it, don't cut it into pieces, as all the pieces will be able to regenerate into full worms. 

 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2022, 09:42:20 pm »
Not only have I not seen one of these, I have never heard of this species. Where an how did your Mom find it, (in the soil, top of the ground, other)?

Phillip





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« Last Edit: November 12, 2022, 10:51:10 pm by Ben Framed »
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2022, 08:40:38 am »
New to me too.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2022, 01:14:44 pm »
Not only have I not seen one of these, I have never heard of this species. Where an how did your Mom find it, (in the soil, top of the ground, other)?

Phillip
Sort of both.  It was under a pallet that has been sitting in the garden all summer.  When Mom turned the pallet over it was on the exposed soil where the pallet had been resting. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2022, 03:43:07 pm »
Thanks Member. Being one source of its diet is earthworms, do you know offhand if it is something earthworm farmers should be concerned about? Do you know where this worm originated or how it got here?

Phillip




« Last Edit: November 13, 2022, 04:27:57 pm by Ben Framed »
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2022, 06:38:53 pm »
Thanks Member. Being one source of its diet is earthworms, do you know offhand if it is something earthworm farmers should be concerned about? Do you know where this worm originated or how it got here?

Phillip
I would think they could certainly damage a vermiculture operation.  I believe most hammerhead worms are native to SE Asia, and it's believed they were accidentally imported to the US in shipments of exotic plants.  They are not a new invasive, at least not in my area of the country, where they have been reported since the 1950s. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2022, 06:41:06 pm »
Thanks Member. Being one source of its diet is earthworms, do you know offhand if it is something earthworm farmers should be concerned about? Do you know where this worm originated or how it got here?

Phillip
I would think they could certainly damage a vermiculture operation.  I believe most hammerhead worms are native to SE Asia, and it's believed they were accidentally imported to the US in shipments of exotic plants.  They are not a new invasive, at least not in my area of the country, where they have been reported since the 1950s. 

Thanks Member
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2022, 07:12:58 am »
I've never seen one nor heard of them.  Thanks for the picture and the description.
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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2022, 10:16:43 am »
Hi Folks,

I first saw them at my house, in a city, in the early 90's. Single family neighborhood. Everyone regularly bought plants of foreign origin. I took some of those eels to a local college. None of the science people were familiar with it.

From the internet, I've since learned what 15 has said.

BTW: Earthworms are invasive to the Canadian forests. Very, very bad for the ecosystems.

I think I've read posts, maybe here, about those "jumping worms". Well, they're on my property here, and their numbers are increasing. There go the night crawlers!

The worms crawl in. The worms crawl out....

Sal 

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hammerhead Worm
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2022, 11:30:25 am »
BTW: Earthworms are invasive to the Canadian forests. Very, very bad for the ecosystems.
Interesting, I didn't know that.  I guess it makes sense though that in some of those far northern ecosystems they wouldn't naturally be present.  A lot of our earthworms down here in the south aren't native either, but since we do have native earthworms, the non-native earthworms aren't really any serious trouble. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.