Highly invasive flatworm species spotted in US

Highly Invasive Flatworm Species Spotted In U.S.

As far as invasive species go, the New Guinea flatworm (Platydemus manokwari) is among the worst.

Historically, it's resided primarily in the Pacific region territories and France, but has now made its way onto the American mainland.

Recently, researchers have found evidence of it living in Florida. One of the notable aspects about the flatworm is that it eats snails.

Though many people would prefer not to have snails in their gardens, this type of flatworm consumes them which threatens endemic species.

Native snails play an important role in their ecosystems, consuming fungus and rotted vegetation.

They're also a primary food source for a wealth of other animals including birds, salamanders and even some mammals.

Another troubling aspect of the New Guinea flatworm's arrival in Florida is that it now has access to large swaths of connected land and can spread more easily.

Previously, its expansion had been contained due to it primarily inhabiting islands.

Although they're easy enough to spot at approximately 2 inches long, the worms are quite difficult to eradicate.

Doing so often involves employing methods that puts other species at risk.

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