Hammerhead Flatworm Discovered in Tennessee

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A reader just sent us a photograph of a worm she discovered in her flower bed in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The specimen in question is brown, has an arrow-shaped head, and is very long. There is nothing in the photo to use as a scale for size comparison, but we think it must be at least a foot long! Here is the photograph she sent us:

We are confident that this is a hammerhead flatworm! This creature is also known by the following names: land planarian, terrestrial flatworm, broadhead planarian, and arrowhead flatworm. Hammerhead flatworms are named for the distinctive shape of their head. These worms belong to the Bipalium genus, which is made up of relatively large predatory land planarians. There are over 50 species of these creatures, many of which are considered to be invasive species in the United States. We aren’t sure of the exact species of this particular hammerhead flatworm.

As we mentioned earlier, hammerhead flatworms are predatory. Many species hunt earthworms, and they are able to hunt their prey leading up to the attack. Since earthworms are crucial to the environment, some people consider hammerhead flatworms pests because they hunt and kill them. Unfortunately, getting rid of these land planarians in your garden can be a tricky task. If you cut them into pieces, they will simply regenerate into new hammerhead flatworms. Therefore, to get rid of them you must dissolve them using citrus oil, salt, or vinegar. Our reader didn’t mention her desire to say goodbye to this worm, so we don’t know if she wrote to us because she was annoyed by its presence and wanted to get rid of it, or if she was just curious about what it was and why it was in her garden.

In summary, a reader sent us a picture of a long, brown worm with a broad arrow-shaped head. We believe this is a hammerhead flatworm!

 

 

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Hammerhead Flatworm Discovered in Tennessee
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Hammerhead Flatworm Discovered in Tennessee
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A reader sent us a picture of a long, brown worm with a broad arrow-shaped head. We believe this is a hammerhead flatworm!
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Author: Worm Researcher Dori

7 thoughts on “Hammerhead Flatworm Discovered in Tennessee

  1. Found one in downtown Nashville. Yeah i killed it. Shpuldnt b here. Would have died in the road slowly and more painfully anyways.

  2. Found a Hammerhead Worm while digging a hole in my yard today. It is about 8 to 10 inches long and the body is the thickness of a pencil. I am keeping it in a sealed mason jar and will soon preserve it in 90% alcohol.

    1. We don’t condone the killing of these creatures, and hope that you will reconsider and release it. AAW

  3. I found one of these in the shower stall. It appears to have come up from the drain. I flushed it down the drain with lots of soapy water then cleaned the shower with a dose of Lysol disinfectant. I hope it doesn’t return!

  4. I found several of these a couple of years ago under my flower pots in East Nashville. This week I’ve spotted two more in another part of my yard. Yuck!

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