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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Post  BeckieSueDalton 8/15/2015, 12:35 pm

While doing outside things this morning, the Boy found a few little Hammerhead Worms.  When looking them up, he told me they eat earthworms by liquefying them and then sucking them up and that they have "creeping souls".

They were first noticed out in California somewhere and have migrated eastward.  They're considered an "invasive species", so I'm going to set my Wriggler Hilton up on a raised surface when I finish crafting it this weekend.

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Post  sanderson 8/15/2015, 1:22 pm

Thank you for sharing this info.

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Post  CapeCoddess 8/15/2015, 1:22 pm

The hammerhead flatworm does not help to control other pest populations as most worms do. They actually kill and eat earthworms, exclusively. The hammerhead flatworm is considered a parasite and it devours its only prey by pushing its throat outside if its mouth and snapping up any part of the earthworms body. It melts the earthworms body with an enzyme and slowly eats it until the earthworm is completely consumed.

The hammerhead flatworm can reach up to 20 inches long and its body is very slimy, which allows it to move along the ground in a gliding motion. The body secretes mucus from glands on its belly or underside. The hammerhead is native to Indo-China, but it makes its way around the world by traveling in greenhouse plants. For the most part, hammerhead flatworms can survive just about anywhere, so no one region is 100% safe. While this unique worm can survive in scorching hot to freezing climates, they may suffer somewhat in drier regions.

http://www.allaboutworms.com/the-hammerhead-flatworm

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Well that's just gruesome!  If they suck up my earthworms I'll have a stinking fit!  Hammerhead Worms 950477
Do they at least leave good fertile castings?
I see you're on the east coast, Beckie.  Yikes!  I'll be on the look out!

CC


Last edited by CapeCoddess on 8/15/2015, 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  AtlantaMarie 8/15/2015, 1:22 pm

Okay....  Scary!!  Guess I better start watching for these...
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Post  TCgardening 8/15/2015, 2:59 pm

We have them down here already too. Miserable things. I think mine came from some landscape plants I bought. Either way I kill every one that I see.
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Post  Marc Iverson 8/15/2015, 3:36 pm

Awful things.  What's a "creeping soul"?
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Post  CapeCoddess 8/15/2015, 4:22 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:Awful things.  What's a "creeping soul"?

Marc, look at the Wikipedia article on them. It explains the Creeping Soul about half way down. I didn't finish reading that part cause I had to stop.

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Post  Marc Iverson 8/15/2015, 4:44 pm

I checked out these two wiki entries:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipalium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipalium_adventitium

... and saw no mention of "creeping soul."  Can you point me to the link you saw that in?
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Post  Kelejan 8/15/2015, 4:54 pm

These Hammerhead Worms sound revolting.  Cringe/etc.
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Post  trolleydriver 8/15/2015, 4:57 pm

Yikes those things are revolting!!!

Are they any god for fishing?
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Post  CapeCoddess 8/15/2015, 5:04 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:I checked out these two wiki entries:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipalium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipalium_adventitium

... and saw no mention of "creeping soul."  Can you point me to the link you saw that in?

It's in the first paragraph of the first link with a #2 next to it.  Sorry, that's where I stopped reading and just assumed they would go on to explain it there or in #2, but they didn't.  I googled it but still can't find the meaning, but it's gotta be out there somewhere.  If anyone finds it let us know and I'll do the same.

TD, I read that they don't taste good so have no known predators.  Wonder if fish have taste buds. hehe

OK, I think I understand what is meant my creeping sole. Sole is like the bottom of our foot, but their sole creeps along, ours doesn't. I gleaned this from reading about slugs here: http://ipm.ncsu.edu/AG136/slug1.html

I can't believe there's no definition of it anywhere.

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Post  BeckieSueDalton 8/15/2015, 6:39 pm

Thanks for posting the explanations.  He was reading it off to me and the scary mental imagery of a "creeping soul" was so powerful that it just stuck.  I should have fact checked the spelling before I shared the picture for us.
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Post  Marc Iverson 8/15/2015, 7:10 pm

Me too.  "Creeping soul" sounds amazing and very disturbing.  "Creeping sole" doesn't sound anywhere near as horrifying.  They still sound like awful creatures and make me feel sorry for the earthworms.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 8/15/2015, 10:03 pm

That is just ICK. What are we doing with all of the foreign introduced invasive species with no known natural predators?

Kudzu, Zebra mussels, starlings, Japanese beetles, those gross worms, Africanized bees, the list really just does go on!!!! Andit seems when a "fix" comes around, it causes it's own set of problems.... thinking
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Post  mollyhespra 8/15/2015, 10:50 pm

yikes!!! Another good reason to start from seed and avoid purchasing from big retailers who get their starts from Lord knows where. Thanks for the head's up, Beckie Sue.
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Post  trolleydriver 8/16/2015, 7:15 am

SR ... I was thinking the same thing about other invasive species; especially, after I had to rid my pole beans of an invasion of Japanese Beetles. My approach to the Japanese Beetles is to knock them off the leaves into a container of soapy water. But that is a losing battle and they have done much damage to our pole beans, raspberries and roses.

On the other hand, I was pleased to see a beautiful big swallowtail butterfly (non-invasive) in our garden on Saturday afternoon. They are a rare sight for me in Ottawa.  It seems that each year species that were rarely seen here are making their way further north.  I can recall when we first moved here I never saw a cardinal and now (28 years later) they are quite common.  In fact, I just checked a map and we are on the northern edge of their "permanent resident" range.

Speaking of worms ... when I was in university (many moons ago) I experimented with the giant nerve axon of Myxicola Infundibulum (a type of marine worm). I had to dissect the worms to get the nerve axon out of them in order to do the experiments.

http://researcharchive.calacademy.org/research/izg/SFBay2K/SPRP/sabellidworm.htm
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Post  Scorpio Rising 8/16/2015, 11:06 am

TD, my beans got decimated by Japanese beetles this year, they managed to still give some beans despite this. I hate those things!

I know what you mean by the northward creep, we have some robins now, especially in Columbus, which is abouit an hour and a half south of me, that never leave! They just overwinter here. That never used to happen when I was growing up. The first robin of spring was a milestone!
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt 3/8/2017, 8:23 pm

I found another hammerhead worm in my garden today. I find one or two a year. This time I already had the camera with me, and my repaired macro snap-on lens. BeckySueDalton's looks like Bipalum kewense.  Mine is Bipalum pennsylvanicum, and also eats earthworms.
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Post  sanderson 3/8/2017, 10:39 pm

BPSF, I re-read this whole thread and noted that they eat our good worms. I'm never seen one outside of a biology lab. Thanks for posting this interesting find.

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Post  ralitaco 3/8/2017, 10:41 pm

EWW! I hope they don't make it into my area
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Post  Ginger Blue 3/9/2017, 11:26 am

Shocked

I think I'm gonna be sick... No
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt 3/9/2017, 12:35 pm

BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:BeckySueDalton's looks like Bipalum kewense
ACK. That should read: BeckieSueDalton's  Apologies for the spelling error.  Embarassed
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