As you may be aware, Anne can be seen in the neighborhood picking up earthworms from the sidewalks and roads and tossing them back onto the lawns. To her even a worm is a living creature and when she has the opportunity to save life she will.
And this day was no different. Walking after a heavy rain there were plenty of earthworms to be saved. She paused when she was about to grab another small “earthworm” because something did not seem right. It was the same color as an earthworm and had a dark stripe from end to end, but what made if stand apart from earthworms was the shape of its head. It was the same shape as a hammerhead shark. The three inch slimy creature glided easily across the sidewalk. Not wanting to get bit, she left it alone.
Yes, there is a species called the hammerhead worm. It is a terrestrial planarian… a flatworm! Perhaps you remember seeing aquatic planaria under the microscope in high school biology. These are the creatures that you can split their heads and two heads will grow. There are many species of hammerhead worms and they can be found all over the world. The ones that grow in Florida have a voracious appetite for earthworms.
Don’t feel sad for earthworms. They are actually an invasive species. They came over during the 1700s through the plant trade from Europe and Asia. Although earthworms are beneficial in our gardens, these aliens have wreaked havoc on some North American ecosystems… More about this in a future blog!
Note: I accidentally deleted the photographs of it, but will be sure to watch for it and post its photo in a future blog.