Friday, October 7, 2011

Hammer-head Worm

This called a hammer-head  worm.  There are four different species of these Bipalium flatworms currently found in the US. Three eat only earthworms; one eats snails and slugs. Bipalium kewense is found across the southern states and may get over 10 inches. It has five dark stripes along the back including a thin middle stripe. Bipalium adventitium is found across the northern states, reaching about 4 inches. It has one narrow dark stripe on the back. Bipalium vagum is the mollusk eater now found in the southeastern US. It has a three thick dark stripes, a dark neck collar, and two dark head spots.

It has a wide distribution in warm climates, many reports throughout California. It needs a moist habitat and is usually encountered near outdoor water faucets, where the soil often remains wet. It original home is unknown but is possibly the Indo-Malayan region.

Having never come across one of these worms in my 45 years, I must admit that I thought it was a leech at first, but later questioned that notion since I am not aware of blood sucking leeches in the central valley and Jasmine had no history of travel outside the central valley or an exotic Kai pond.  I suspect Jasmine found this critter while outside and decided to try and eat it.