As if Florida weren’t beset by enough invasive species, the beleaguered state—which is already battling pythons, giant snails and other interlopers—is now staring down the (very tiny) maw of a new threat.
“It has a goo-spewing mouth on its belly, is covered in toxic slime, hosts a brain-eating parasite and, like any ambitious mutant monster, the New Guinea flatworm is invading the U.S. by way of sunny Miami,” writes Jenny Staletovich in the Miami Herald. “There’s also this: the worm is hermaphroditic, so it can multiply anywhere, anytime. No assistance needed.”
Researchers confirmed in June that the Pacific island flatworm has been found on the U.S. mainland in southern Florida, LiveScience reported on June 23. They are worried that the two-inch-long animal, which looks “more like a smudge of snot than an agile predator,” as the Miami Herald describes it, could make its way farther inland via garden soil or plants.
In fact they have even been spotted on another invasive species, the giant African snail, being ganged up on by 30 to 40 flatworms, the Miami Herald said.
“It is really vile,” David Robinson, the nation’s chief snail scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told the Miami Herald. “As a biologist I can handle most things, but I find this really revolting.”
Find out how he really feels, and learn more about how this creature made it to Turtle Island’s shores, by reading Goo-Spewing Worm Latest Threat to South Florida in the Miami Herald.