The New Guinea flatworm is known as the worst invasive species in the world.
According to a team of scientists, the worm has been seen for the first time in the United States and conservationists worry that it can do a lot of damage.
The scientific name of the New Guinea flatworm is Platydemus manokwari, and experts say it poses a serious threat to the snail biodiversity.
The scientists wrote an article about how dangerous the worm is, saying that it threatens the endemic snails everywhere it lives.
The researchers published their findings in the journal PeerJ.
Experts believe this species of flatworm comes from New Guinea, but in recent years it has spread all over the world, including Florida, Puerto Rico, New Caledonia, Singapore, the Wallis and Fortuna Islands and the Solomon Islands.
Jean Lou Justine, lead author of the study, explained that the New Guinea flatworm was also found in France and other Pacific islands.
Justine wrote in his study that once this very invasive species arrives on new territory and finds proper conditions, it reproduces very fast.
According to the researchers, the flatworm adapts very quickly to new environments and starts predating on invertebrates especially local snails.
Conservationists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature made a list with the most invasive species and included the New Guinea flatworm on it.
Experts say that human activity is responsible for the spread of these invasive species.
Justine wrote that this species of flatworm moves only a few hundred yards a year by itself, but it has spread to different territories and very quickly due to international trade with living plants.
The New Guinea flatworm has been found in different US area like the gardens in Miami, and Justine believes that it will probably spread throughout Florida in a short period of time.
In order to stop the invasive species from spreading, the United States regulations are very strict regarding the import of agricultural and plant products.
However, once these species enter the US land, regulations are not the strict anymore.
Researchers said there are no quarantine regulations between the state of Florida and other parts of the United States.
Once in Florida, the invasive species can spread to all states, including Mexico and the rest of the country.
Last year, it was reported that the New Guinea flatworm had almost decimated the snail population in France. The snails were used as the main ingredient in the traditional French dish known as escargot.
Image Source: independent.co.uk