Yet Another Nasty Invasive Species Spotted in the Hudson Valley
As we get further into the warmer months, more and more species will begin to emerge from the depths below. Some residents native to the area may jokingly think invasive species mean more people moving here from other parts of the country. But in this case, we're talking about a rather nasty looking worm that experts are once again urging homeowners to destroy on sight. According to scientists, these things will even secrete neurotoxins that can irritate your skin.
Some of them are also over a foot long.
What the Hell Are They?
They've been described as toxic, carnivorous, nasty, and even "immortal" by zoologists. They're actually known by scientific names due to the number of species, but most refer to them as hammerhead worms, shovel worms, or broadband planarians.
They are a predatory species that feed on earthworms and other species. Their appearance can vary by species, though some carry a distinctive headplate, hence the moniker hammerhead. They also come in a variety of different colors.
The Hammerhead worms are part of a large group of flatworms that belong to the particular file of organisms,
The worms are native to the hot and humid areas of Southeast Asia. But now they've invaded American soil, at first staying primarily in the South. Warmer and wetter summers in the Northeast have meant the slimy pests have now been spotted up here as well, including in the Hudson Valley.
Do They Hurt People?
Are they harmful to humans? No, they're just gross-looking and can irritate the skin if picked up and touched. Experts say you can kill them by using vinegar and salt. Don't cut them up though, for they're just regenerate and grow more worms.
Not to be Confused with Other Invasive Worms - Asian Jumping Worms
Hammerheads are not to be confused with "Asian jumping worms", another invasive species of worm. Shifting climates and increased global travel have made it easier for species not native to areas to spread in a fairly short amount of time across the globe, causing varying degrees of environmental destruction.
Other Nasty Creatures Have Also Been Spotted
There's also the Southern Pine Beetle, the Spotted Lanternfly, and the beforementioned Joro Spider (which is scary looking, but relatively harmless).