invasive species

North Texas Sees Rise in Invasive Flatworm Sightings

The Texas Invasive Species Institute said it has received more than 100 reports of the flatworm in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

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What to Know

  • Hammerhead flatworms, which measure 4 to 15 inches long, are native to Southeast Asia.
  • The worms are harmful to plants as well as essential earthworms and animals.
  • If you see the flatworm, do not cut it because it will just regrow.

An invasive species of worm has invaded the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The hammerhead flatworms are native to Southeast Asia, and they have invaded North Texas.

The worms are anywhere from four to 15 inches long. They are harmful not only to plants, but also to essential earthworms and animals.

"We don't want any sort of animal eating the flatworm because it will make them sick," said Ashley Morgan-Olvera with the Texas Invasive Species Insitute. "They'll eat the flatworm, the flatworm will secrete those chemicals and make the animals sick."

Experts say if you see the flatworm, do not cut it because it will just regrow.

The Texas Invasive Species Institute's website says the worm "can be killed with orange essence (citrus oil), and salt (as with slugs and snails). They can also be sprayed with a combination of citrus oil and vinegar; or just vinegar alone and it must be applied directly on the flatworm. Placing them in a Ziploc bag with salt or vinegar ensures the flatworm does not crawl away after treatment; then dispose of the sealed bag."

The Texas Invasive Species Institute said it has received more than 100 reports of the flatworm in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The worms are being spread by land clearing industries like mulch and fertilizer, the Texas Invasive Species Institute said.

The Texas Invasive Species Institute said it is important to watch out for the flatworm if you have re-landscaped your area.

Anyone who sees the flatworms can report at invasive@shsu.edu. Learn more about the worms at stoptheinvasive.org.

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