Friday, November 25, 2011

Very Creepy, Very Crawly

It's probably a safe bet that this little predator isn't often featured in nature blogs.  In fact, when we stumbled over it (well, not literally), I wasn't even sure what it was.  Recently, it has been common on the Gallon Jug Ring Road in the early mornings, exactly the time when I take my walk or run.  But I wasn't seeing it in late afternoon.  Finally, Bruce took a few minutes to research it.

As it turns out, it is a flatworm or land planarian, (Bipalium kewense).  It preys upon earthworms, slugs, larvae and is even cannibalistic.  Evidently it is Asian in origin and has been accidentally introduced around the world.  It requires high humidity which probably explains why we only are seeing it on the roads in the early morning when it tends to be especially damp and/or foggy.  How this invasive species arrived in our remote corner of Belize, we'll never know.  Exotic species like this one can be hard to eradicate (how would you even go about it?) and often negatively impact local species.  So interesting though this little creature is, it's not exactly a wonderful sign to have it here.  If you want to learn more about Bipalium kewense, check it out here.


  1. interesting, Carolyn. I'll pass this along to Caelen!

  2. Wow...I have not seen anything like this down here in Belmopan. Fascinating!