Dangerous species of worm found in Arkansas, authorities say

A dangerous hammerhead worm was found in Arkansas.
A dangerous hammerhead worm was found in Arkansas.(WGCL)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 2:32 PM CDT
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GREENE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT/Gray News) - Although most worms are harmless, not all of them are. A dangerous species has just been spotted in Arkansas, according to state authorities.

Since the week of June 13, hammerhead worms have been found in Greene County, according to the University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture, KAIT reports.

Officials said hammerhead worms can contain a potent neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin, which is often found in pufferfish. Exposure to tetrodotoxin can cause headaches, body numbness, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

They mentioned hammerhead worms are carnivorous, and if the worms are cut in half, they will regenerate, creating two worms instead of one.

Officials said you should do the following if you spot a hammerhead worm:

  • Do not touch it. Wear gloves if you handle them.
  • Do not hesitate to kill the worm. They recommend putting it into a bucket with salt, vinegar or hot water to kill it.

Hammerhead worms are often identified by their broad spade-shaped head and long-flattened body. They typically grow to be 8 to 12 inches.

If you spot a hammerhead worm, officials recommend reporting your sighting by clicking here.

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