An Invasive Flatworm Is A Threat To Other Animals In Florida

Flatworms are common to southern Florida, but a particular flatworm that a biologist from Key West captured did not look like any flatworm he had ever seen in Florida. It turned out that this biologist was the first person to spot a New Guinea flatworm in the Florida Keys.

Back in 2015 a snail specialist, Tim Collins, reported to Miami-Dade County to investigate the recent mass deaths of local tree snails. It turned out that the culprit was a Pacific island flatworm. This flatworm is not nearly as effective at killing mass amounts of snails as the New Guinea flatworm. In other parts of the world, the New Guinea flatworm has caused certain species of snails to go extinct. Now these flatworms are being spotted all over Florida. These flatworms likely arrived in the US via shipments of exotic plants. The New Guinea flatworm is on the list of the 100 most dangerous invasive species in the world. If you find a flatworm do not pick it up as they can transmit infections to humans.

What methods should be adopted to better protect US soil from invasive predators that are native to other countries?

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Smithereen Pest Management provides IPM pest services to residential and commercial clients in Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. http://www.smithereen.com/
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