Experts warn of dangerous species of worm found in North Carolina

Alissa Rose

Recently, a dangerous species of worm called hammerhead worms were found in North Carolina.

Hammerhead worms have spread across the country due to soil circulation, mainly in greenhouse production, and they have recently been discovered in multiple North Carolina 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.

The Caldwell Extension Center stated, "We have received numerous calls regarding strange-looking 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 the Caldwell Extension Center, 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.

Seth Nagy, Cooperative Extension director, said, "When buying plants and garden supplies, be on the lookout for flatworms. Please get in touch with the Caldwell Extension Center if you discover worms that are different from those shown in the image . If it is a new species, we can assist with identification and work with the North Carolina State Plant-Insect and Disease Clinic."

If you have any questions concerning the worms, visit caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu or call the Caldwell Extension Center at 828-757-1290 during normal business hours.

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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