Dark Golden Slug with one Black Stripe
August 8, 2009
Hey Bugman!
My father found this outside our house here in Georgia. He asked me to take a look at it because he thought I would know. I took a look and I have no idea what it is. It’s a dark golden color, slimy, has a wide head area, (Shaped like a hammerhead shark) legless, and has a black stripe running from it’s head down to it’s tail. It leaves a pretty nice slime trail so I’m guessing it’s a type of slug. Can you end this weird mystery for my father? He’s dying to know. Thanks!
Sean M.
Albany, GA

Arrowhead Flatworm

Arrowhead Flatworm

Hi Sean,
You have found an Arrowhead Flatworm or Land Planarian,  Bipalium kewense.
Your specimen has a dark head and lacks the two distinct dorsal stripes normally associated with the species.  According to a Texas website:  “Now the good news . . . Land Panarians are effective predators as they will eat slugs and many types of harmful insect larvae. The thought of having a beneficial that preys on slugs should be encouraging!  But now the not-so-good news . . . while all of this sounds rather benign, the land planarian is not necessarily without flaws (at least from a gardener’s perspective—but Mother Nature does not operate in such black-and-white perspectives). Like an earthworm, it burrows in moist soil, but it can exhibit much more sinister epicurean habits. Although it will eat slugs and harmful insect larvae, the Land Planarian will also dine on earthworms!  It does so by lying atop the earthworm (the sticky mucus holds the earthworm to the soil. The land planarian then protrudes its pharynx out of its mouth and into the earthworm to suck out bodily fluids of an earthworm.  Land Planarians are reported to be cannibalistic when food resources are low. This may help to keep the population down, since the mucus membrane of the worm deters most other pests.” According to the Featured Creatures website which has a photo of a specimen with the same coloration as your specimen:  “Habitat: Because land planarians are photo-negative during daylight hours and require high humidity, they are found in dark, cool, moist areas under objects such as rocks, logs, in debris, or under shrubs, and on the soil surface following heavy rains. Land planarians are also found in caves, but are rare in rural sites. Movement and feeding occur at night. High humidity is essential to survival. They can survive desiccation only if water loss does not exceed 45 percent of their body weight. Land planarians are most abundant in spring and fall.”

7 Responses to Arrowhead Flatworm

  1. Jamie Peterson says:

    Hello I’m have a worm farm and found what looked like a flat brown worm with a flat head in my tote that I’m have te worm farm in unsure of what it was in grabbed a stick and threw it out. But all te info is have seen online does not mention them being in michigan. And I’m live in southern michigan

    • Ann marie Mozdzierz says:

      I found one in charlotte n,c.
      it seems like michigan wouldnt be humid enough for the flat worm .
      but being summer I bet you guys do have them

  2. Maggie says:

    I just saw one in San Ramon, CA, about 30 miles east of San Francisco.

  3. Makayla says:

    i found one this morning after a very hard rain lasts night. it was about 6 inches long curled up under my carport.

  4. Dietrich Hoecht says:

    found two bipalium nobile today. We live in Rabun County in North Georgia temperate forest landscape. Gave them the orange oil eternal treat.

  5. MyEir says:

    Just found one going across the concrete in my front yard location Inglewood California

  6. Tracy Holliday says:

    I found one in northeast Alabama, weird little creature!! ?

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