Invasive and potentially deadly flatworm showing up in Florida

The flatworms can make people and animals sick.

BRADENTON, Fla. --- We have gators and snakes. How about New Guinea flatworms?

It’s a nonnative and invasive species that’s made its way to parts of Tampa Bay up from South Florida

Two suspected New Guinea flatworms were found on a Manatee County man’s front porch.

  The flatworms are typically dark colored on top and gray on the bottom. They were first spotted in Miami in 2012.

Wildlife experts say they carry a toxic and deadly parasite, so don’t touch them. When eaten by rodents, fumes from droppings can cause meningitis.

Kyle Kunz says he’s seen the flatworms before in his driveway but this time they got too close.

Kunz says, “I was going to do research later turned out  I ran across a Facebook post about these things … wait, they’re at my feet on my front porch. It kinda sent me into a panic mode once I started researching on them.”

It’s believed the flatworms arrived in potted plants and soil. They multiply easily on their own -- they don’t need a partner.

The flatworms feed on other snails.

Scientists say there are no pesticides for this species, but limiting their food source helps.

 

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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