An invasive worm with a toxic slime was spotted in Florida again.
The New Guinea flatworm, originally from the South Pacific Islands, was spotted last year in Miami and now has made its way to the Tampa Bay area, according to WFTS.
Researchers believe the insects arrived here in plants and tropical fruits that were imported to the United States from the islands. They’ve been described as “goo-spewing,” dangerous worms.
The latest sighting was reported by a woman living in Odessa, about 20 miles north of Tampa.
These thick, black worms with a stripe down their backs have toxic slime that can cause an allergic reaction. The worms carry parasites that can lead to meningitis, according to WFTS.
“It actually vomits up this caustic substance that can cause problems,” Roy Beckford, an agriculture agent in Lee County, said last year when the insects were found in Cape Coral.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission told WFTS there is no need to call 911 if you spot a New Guinea flatworm. Instead you can kill them by pouring boiling water on them and then picking them up with a plastic bag.
While they are dangerous to humans, the biggest threat the insects pose is to the environment. They have no natural predators and can destroy anything in their path including trees, small creatures and vegetation.
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