Invasive New Guinea Flatworms Have Made Their Way To North America

The Weather Channel

The world of nature is filled with all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures, quite a few of whom could be pretty dangerous to you or me. Unfortunately, Mother Nature can be deceptive, and some of her deadliest creations are the ones that are the least obvious. We all know to avoid things like lions or sharks because they already look deadly... but who would think to avoid something that looks like a cute, brightly-colored frog or a totally harmless-looking worm?

If you live in Southwest Florida, however, you'd best keep your eyes peeled for one particular type of worm - the New Guinea flatworm. Originally from (you guessed it) New Guinea, this invasive species of flatworm has recently been reported on American soil for the very first time. It likely hitched a ride on imported produce or soil.

The worm is dark with a single orange stripe down the middle of its back. Rats and mice are easily infected by the worm (which grows up to roughly two inches in length). Should an animal then manage to infect a human, the resulting infection can cause massive damage to the brain and spinal cord, and can potentially even be fatal.

These worms are also a threat to local wildlife as well as indigenous fauna, so if you see one, please take pictures and report it to authorities immediately, as researchers are trying to prevent it from spreading any further into the mainland.

Be sure to SHARE this important advisory with your family and friends.


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