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An invasive, snake-like hammerhead worm is popping up in Georgia

November 23, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Step aside "murder hornets," sightings of an invasive species of a snake-like worm are being reported in Georgia.

(CNN)Step aside "murder hornets," sightings of an invasive species of a snake-like worm are being reported in Georgia.

Sightings of shovel-headed garden worms, also known as hammerhead worms, have recently been reported in the state, University of Georgia agriculture extension agent James Murphy tells CNN.

The mouths of hammerhead worms are located midway down the bottom surface of their bodies rather than on their heads, Murphy says.

The worms are carnivorous and feed primarily on earthworms, according to Murphy.

Murphy says there is not enough research on the function of the toxin within the worm's biology, but it is speculated that the toxin may help the worms to catch prey or to avoid being eaten themselves.

While the worms do not appear to secrete enough of the toxin through the skin to be considered dangerous, Murphy says to exercise caution, as tetrodotoxin is very dangerous.

Murphy says he is unaware of any state initiatives to combat the spread of the worm, as it does not threaten crops directly and is mainly only a danger to "commercial earthworm rearing operations. "

Murphy does not advise people to touch the worms with their hands.

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