On October 31, Khun Mongkol Antachai found 15 black slug like worms eating a snail at the backyard of his home. He wondered what it is and posted them on Facebook asking for advice. A conservationist known as Khun Yingyos Larpeong then replied that it seemed most likely to be New Guinea flatworm. He then went to the poster’s home along with another expert in biodiversity to collect sample of the worm for examination and later confirmed it is the New Guinea flatworm.
What is a New Guinea worm?
The New Guinea worm, also known as Platydemus manokwari, is a species of large predatory parasites originated from Papua New Guinea. This flatworm is relatively large, about 4-6cm in length and about 0.4-0.7cm wide. Its body however, is quite flat, being less than 2 mm in thickness. Both ends of the animal are pointedwith two eyes near the tip of the head end. It is dark brown on the upper surface, with a lighter central line. The underside is pale grey or near white. It is one of the 100 worst invasive parasites in the world.
They have been known to feed on mainly land snails and various soil invertebrates, such as earthworms, slugs, and arthropods.
Why is it dangerous?
- it reproduces like crazy and eats not only snails but earthworms and slugs thus affecting the eco system.
- the worm doesn’t even need a mate to reproduce. A single worm can quickly turn into dozens. It will be grown into two separate individuals if cut into half.
- The goo is highly acidic to humans and causes burning sensation so you should never touch them with your hands.
- The worm also carries a parasite known as rat lungworm. This parasite is easily passed onto humans whic can then cause severe meningitis – swelling of the brain and spinal cord.
What do you do when you spot a guinea worm?
- Take a photo of the worm and send it to the Thai organisation Siamensis through Facebook page of siamensis.org or to Line ID @sde5284v to verify and also to allow the department to keep a record on the growth and manifestation of the parasite.
- kill the worm by pouring hot water over it or using salt. Remember! Do not smash or cut it.
- Check around the surrounding of your home or premises if there are more.
Precautions to be made:
- watch out for contaminated water.
- be careful to check on the fresh vegetables that you will consume.