Re: FLATHEADED WORMS
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Posted by Greg on September 28, 2005 at 16:48:14:
In Reply to: Re: FLATHEADED WORMS posted by Kara on August 24, 2005 at 11:49:37:
The one I saw here in the San Francisco Bay Area was about 6 or 8 inches long. I looked around on the web and found a page about them, http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/shovelworm.htm. Here is the first part of it --
Shovel-headed Garden Worm
The Shovel-headed Garden Worm, Bipalium kewense, was first discovered in the hothouses of the famous Kew Gardens in England (its scientific name means 'plate-headed worm from Kew'). It was formally described in 1878. Shovel-headed Garden Worms belong to the Phylum Platyhelminthes, a large phylum of worms known as flatworms because of their flattened bodies. Many flatworms are parasitic, but the Shovel-headed Garden Worm is a free-living terrestrial species.
As early as 1899, the Shovel-headed Garden Worm was thought to have a cosmopolitan distribution, supposedly transported to other parts of the world from England and becoming established in a similar way to the common garden snail of Europe. It now seems more likely that the Shovel-headed Garden Worm originated somewhere in Indo-China; its natural range extends from Vietnam to Kampuchea, possibly extending to Malaysia. It was probably sent to the Kew Gardens from its place of origin in a shipment of plants. They are now distributed widely as a result of horticultural practices, being dispersed in potted plants. From pot-plants, they can readily move into the adjacent environment if the habitat is suitably moist and humid. They are very common in the bush around Sydney.
In addition to its peculiar shovel-shaped head, the Shovel-headed Garden Worm has a long (up to 30 cm), soft, flattened body (a few millimetres in width) with five longitudinal dark brown stripes, which vary in their distinctiveness and width. One of these bands runs along the upper midline and there is a dark patch in the neck region. These worms are light ochre-yellow on the upperside and greyish white or pinky grey on the underside. As they move along, they excrete large amounts of slimy mucus from glands in the body wall, and wave their heads from side to side. They slide over this mucus carpet by the action of closely spaced, tiny hairs which are found in a strip on the underside. If they migrate onto plants, or other objects, they can lower themselves back to the ground by a string of mucus.
(The page goes on from there. See the link for more.)
: : : : I also saw one last weekend and started searching on the internet and found nothing. My 4 year old daughter and i are dying to know what it was. I live in metro Atlanta and saw it next to our neighborhood's swimming pool the morning after very strong rains
: : : : : : I LIVE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AND WE ARE GETTING A LOT OF LONG WORMS THAT ARE BROWN AND BLACK STRIPED, FLAT HEAD WORMS. THEY MOVE SIMILAR TO A SNAKE AND THE LASTEST ONE I FOUND WAS 14 INCHES LONG. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THESE WORMS ARE? WILL THEY HURT MY DOGS? THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME.
: : : : : I live in north west Alabama and just found a worm identical to the one discribed by you. It was in my downstairs bathroom.We have had heavy rains for about 3 days. This worm is about 14" long and searches around with his head. I put him in a bowl of water and he just goes up the side and tries to get out really quick. I've searched and can't find one in a worm dictionary or anything. You are the only ones out there who've seen them.
: : : I live in Laurel, Mississippi and i have found six of these worms with flat heads that are brown with black strips going down the back.I like your self hit the internet looking to find out what they were and found yall. if anyone finds out what they are please post it .....
: : I live in Chalresotn, SC and I have found one too. I though it was a bit of siderweb that my dog had tracked in on her underbelly.... but when I went to pull it off of her it was a worm... just as all of you have described, however much shorter... only about 3 inches in length but thin with brown and black stripes and a flat, shovel like head that he uses to navigate and then moves slowly behind. I am curious and went to the web... and found nothing yet except this site... so if anyone finds out... fill us in:)
: I live in Southern California towards the desert. I found one of the worms everyone described...(snake-like, with a flat head, brown and black stripes.) The head was like half a circle, with the rounded part searching through the grass. The tail was blunt, not tappered. I was so perplexed I searched the net and found this site. Who can tell us what this is?!
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