An unusual worm : Land planarian (Hammerhead Worm)

Date : 07.07.2017
Place : Coorg

It was in the afternoon, post to our lunch. We decided to take walk around the place with our camera, we 3 friends started walking between the plantations.

Down the lane after some time one of my friend saw this unusual worm, moving on leaf. Being a Photography enthusiast, he started capturing its movements and so we being curious about what he is doing went back to where he was.

We were surprised seeing a flat worm munching on a prey, and to observe it as carnivorous. we stood their for almost 20 minutes watching its behavior and digestion process.

After 3 days, back from the trip. The curious kid in my head still wanted to know more about the worm, after few articles, Wikipedia and few videos. All i wanted to do is write about the unusual creature, which all of us need to know.

These are called as Hammerhead Worms or Broadhead Planarians in common, because of the shape of their head. They belong to the phylum
Platyhelminthes which are usually the flat worms.

Hammerhead worms are native to Asia but have been transported to other parts of world through soil of greenhouse plants.

They multiply with Asexual reproduction, so if chopped every piece will regenerate into separate worm. These species are predatory and they mainly feed on earthworm, slugs, insects and larvae.

Hammerhead worm

They attack prey, coil their sticky body over it. To explain in detail, hammerhead worms first cover Prostomium ( i.e, First body segment) of its victim, which gonna stop it from slugging and give up.

Wrapping the pray

Then slowly covers entire body of prey, wrapping it around… it opens its mouth which is in the middle of its body.

Next it produces the enzymes secreted from its mouth and digestion begins, Yes -Digestion begins externally.

Enzyme secretion

The enzymes are powerful enough to convert the prey to liquid mush, which will be taken into its gut.

Pray into the gut

These creatures doesn't have a separate organ for excretion of waste, hence once the digestion process is completed it excretes the waste from the same portal.

Have used few pictures which i clicked, while we were observing it.