The New Guinea flatworm eats beneficial garden-dwellers. Worse, it can carry carry a parasite, rat lungworm, that may cause a form of meningitis in humans; and the worm produces toxic secretions. / Photo courtesy UF/IFAS

By Joshua Kutyna
Indian River Extension Program, UF/IFAS

“There is an invader amongst us, and it goes by the name of Platydemus manokwari. Better known as the New Guinea flatworm, this alien aggressor is a natural predator with no known local enemies. It dines on a variety of soil dwelling inhabitants such as snails, slugs and other beneficial invertebrates. …

“Not only are they an invasive species that can cause real environmental damage, but they also are known to carry a parasite called rat lungworm that can cause a form of meningitis in humans. Besides that, this flatworm produces toxic secretions that may trigger an allergic reaction in some people.”

For the complete article, which includes advice on how to kill the New Guinea flatworm — and how to tell non-invasive flatworms from this alien kind — visit: