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Hammerhead Worm

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The15thMember:
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. 
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Ben Framed:
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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Acebird:
New to me too.

The15thMember:

--- Quote from: Ben Framed 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

--- End quote ---
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. 

Ben Framed:
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




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