The Ornate Facetiousness of the Hammerhead Flatworm

Image result for hammerhead flatworm

No matter how much good you’ve done in the world, if you are a hammerhead flatworm, mankind has it in for you. If you were, say, a gorilla, and you ended up in Quebec, Canada, you might have to develop a taste for cheese curds, potatoes and gravy; but, you wouldn’t be called an “invasive species”. Why then is the hammerhead flatworm persecuted in such a way? And, why are there gorillas in Quebec, Canada eating cheese curds?

Hammerhead flatworms are of the genus bipalium of the family geoplanidae from the suborder of continenticola from the kingdom of the zombies and all hail the Zombie Queen. There are literally dozens of species of hammerhead flatworm and figuratively, even more. And, each has a wide and well-developed head plate as you might expect; however, what you may NOT expect is that each has elongated lateral auricles. So, if you tend towards shorter lateral auricles, you might want to look into a different genus of flatworm.

Image result for hammerhead flatwormBipalium can grow to twelve inches… or even more if they are standing on their toes. Their undersides are cilated because that’s just how these things work out. The cilated underside is used for locomotion and is referred to as the “creeping sole”… which is also the name of a nasty species of athlete’s foot. They lack the antennae of a slug and the segmentation of a leech and yet people still confuse them for both. I’m not sure that, when people find out it is a flatworm, they are relieved, angry, excited or confused. Chances are that they just cover the creature with table salt and then move on…

Hammerhead flatworms are hermaphrodites. They can engage in sex with other flatworms; or, they can take the advice of the guy that they cut off on the highway and have sex with themselves. Either way, they lay eggs in a cocoon which they keep inside their bodies until no one is looking; then, they deposit them in the weeds somewhere. If they swing toward the middle, they can reproduce asexually through budding… but, where’s the fun in that?

But, what makes these little lumps of snot special? Well, like Ms. Right, what makes a flatworm special is its mind. You can cut a flatworm’s head right off and not only will it grow a new head… it will ALSO retain memories from before it was decapitated. I find this amazing because I’ve had to check the top of this essay three times to remind me that I’m writing about flatworms. Experiments also show that if a flatworms eats a flatworm that has been trained to move through a particular maze, the cannibal flat worm will finish the maze faster than one who hasn’t had such a soul-crushing experience. Plus, sometimes the flatworms become zombies…

Image result for hammerhead flatwormSome hammerhead flatworms are predatory, eating earthworms. They are considered “invasive” despite the fact that robins eat worms and we pull worms out of the ground to literally FEED to fish. But, robins don’t leave a toxin behind them that discourages all but suicidal predators. If flatworms manage to eat a sizable number of earthworms, the soil will suffer and life as we know it will be over, being replaced instead with life as someone else knows it… AND WE DON’T KNOW WHO THAT SOMEONE ELSE IS. Is it time to panic? Well… yes and aughhh!

Sadly, as our agribusiness becomes more and more global, hammerheads will invade other regions besides Quebec. And, besides feeding cheese curds to gorillas, there is very little we can do about it. They have no predators. We can’t lure them into traps with pheromones because they are perfectly fine having an evening at home romancing themselves. You’d think we’d be able to empathize with a species that comes from somewhere else and screws up the ecosystem. We’ve had them in this country before.

The American Indians called them “the pilgrims”…