Experts warn of an invasive species called hammerhead worms spreading in Tennessee

Alissa Rose

Recently, an invasive species called hammerhead worms have been found in Tennessee.

Soil circulation has caused hammerhead worms to spread across the country, particularly in greenhouse production, and they have recently been found in several Eastern Tennessee counties.

This worm belongs to the terrestrial flatworm family. These species are shiny and covered in a slimy material. On the other hand, these flatworms lack the tentacles that slugs have. They may grow up to 12 inches long and have a crescent-shaped head. Hammerheads are often orange, yellow, or brown, with one to multiple stripes along the back.

Dr. Karen Vail, University of Tennessee Professor and Extension Urban Entomologist said they pose a threat to our environment. They're predators. They eat earthworms, snails, other invertebrates, and as well as other hammerhead worms.

The worms may grow four to fifteen inches long and release toxins via their skin that cause skin irritation in humans. They affect not just plants but also important earthworms and animals.

According to Dr. Karen Vail, University of Tennessee Professor and Extension Urban Entomologist, it's advised not to handle or cut the worms because they can reproduce asexually. You'll get two hammerhead worms if you cut them in half. Instead, the worms should be killed with salt or rubbing alcohol.

In addition, hammerhead worms release a poison that irritates the skin, so don't pick them up with your bare hands.

Dr. Karen Vail explained that there is some good news about these slimy animals. "At this moment, we're just not seeing the huge numbers of hammerhead worms that would cause any serious damage."

What do you think about this invasive species? Give your valuable opinion in the comment section, and if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media and with your friends and family.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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