Poison Worms | Hammerhead Worms Are Terrifying: This hammerhead worm is just a scary, poisonous flatworm that lives on land. This terrestrial, big planarian is both a predator and a cannibal. Although the distinctive-looking worms pose no direct threat to humans, they are an invasive species with the ability to eliminate earthworms.
Poison Worms | Hammerhead Worms Are Terrifying
The hammerhead worm is distinguished by its fan shaped or spade shaped head and long, flattened body. A huge “creeping sole” on the planarian’s underside is employ for mobility. The species are distinguish by head form, size, coloring, and pattern of stripes.
The terrestrial planarians are found in colors of gray, brown, yellow, and green. B. adventitium, which measures between 5 and 8 cm (2.0 and 3.1 inches) in length, is one of the smallest hammerhead worms. Adult B. kewense worms can reach lengths of over 20 centimeters.
Distribution And Habitat
Native to tropical and subtropical climates, hammerhead worms have grown invasive everywhere. It is suspect that the planarians were transfer and disperse by mistake on root horticultural plants. Due to their need for moisture, hammerhead worms are uncommon in arid and mountain environments.
Diet | Poison Worms
Bipalium worms are knows to consume earthworms, slug, insect larvae, as well as each other. The worms use chemoreceptors placed under the head or in the ventral groove to identify prey. A hammerhead worm follows its victim, presses it against a surface, and ensnares it in slimy secretions.
Once the prey is largely immobilize, it worm extends its pharynx from its body, secretes digestive enzymes, and then uses cilia to suction liquefied tissue into its branching stomach. When digestion was complete, the mouth of the worm doubles as its anus.
Vacuoles in the digestive epithelium of hammerhead worms store food. A worm may survive on its reserves for several weeks and will consume its own tissues for sustenance.
While certain worms are edible, this hammerhead worm is not one of them. The planarian has the strong neurotoxin tetrodotoxin, which even the worm utilizes to immobilize prey and prevent predators.
The toxin also is found in pufferfish, blue-ringed octopus, & rough-skinned newts, but it was not known to appear in any terrestrial invertebrate previous to its discovery inside the hammerhead worm.
Because their move in a slug-like manner, hammerhead worms have wrongly term hammerhead slugs. They glide over a stretch of mucus using cilia on their creeping sole. The worms have also sight descending a thread of mucus.
Land planarians were photo negative (sensitive to light) and require high humidity. As a result, they usually travel and feed at night. They like cool, wet environments and usually live under rocks, logs, or plants.
Regeneration And Reproduction
The worms are hermaphrodites, meaning that each individual has both testes and ovaries. A hammerhead worm’s secretions can use to exchange gametes with another worm.
Fertilized eggs develop within the body before being expel as egg capsules. The eggs hatch as well as the worms develop after about three weeks. Juveniles in various species differ in color from adults.
Asexual reproduction, on the other hand, is far more common as sexual reproduction. Hammerhead worms, like some other Planaria, live indefinitely.
A worm usually reproduces through fragmentation, leaving a tail tip attached to a leaf or other substrate that develops into an adult. If the worm is split up, each section could regenerate into a fully fledge organism in a matter of weeks. Injured worms rebuild damaged tissue quickly.
Status Of Conservation
None of the hammerhead worm species have examine for inclusion on the IUCN Red List, however there is no evidence that their numbers are threaten. Land planarians are found all over the world in their natural tropical.
As well as subtropical habitats and have expanded their territorial reach. The creatures disperse after establishing themselves in a greenhouse. Worms may survive freezing temperatures in colder climates by finding out sheltered areas.
Importance In Economic Terms
Researchers were initially afraid that terrestrial planarians would harm vegetation. They were once thought to be harmless to flora, but later a more sinister threat emerged. Earthworm populations can wipe out by hammerhead worms.
Earthworms are essential for soil aeration and fertilization. Hammerhead worms are a potentially dangerous invasive species. Some slug management strategies also work on flatworms, but their long-term influence on ecosystems is still to prove.