Underground predator makes its way to the Ozarks

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The University of Missouri says an invasive species has moved into the Ozarks.

Known as hammerhead worms, the university believes they most likely came to the Ozarks by hijacking rides from people who bought plants from other nurseries.

“So whenever you buy a plant at a nursery and it comes in a pot with soil, well these worms could potentially be hitch-hiking in that soil,” said Kelly McGowan, field specialist in horticulture with the University of Missouri. “When you bring that home and plant them in your flower bed then you have introduced it into your soil.”

McGowan says these worms live underground, can survive the winter and have the potential to expand their population in an area.

“It basically looks like a worm, but with a hammer-shaped head,” said McGowan. “Kind of like how you would think of a hammerhead shark. They are kind of like a worm but they do feed on earthworms and other things that are living in the soil”

Springfield resident Galynda Kneedler says she first ran into these worms after it had rained.

“I went around the tree here and there were several of them jumping out of the ground and back in which was really weird,” said Kneedler.

Kneedler said there’s not much you can do but salt each one to exterminate them.

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