A slimy worm has invaded France from Southeast Asia, and it has a taste for snails. Merde! Experts are warning that if the invasive New Guinea flatworm (Platydemus manokwari) isn’t stopped, escargot could go extinct pretty quickly. This sucker is so lethal, it’s basically on the animal version of America’s Most Wanted, making the top 100 most dangerous invasive species worldwide. The fate of hoity-toity appetizers is at stake here, people!
If you live in France and/or like to peer creepily through your mini-blinds, here’s what to watch out for. The worm is two inches long and half an inch wide, with a black back and a white belly (which is also where its mouth is). Its black eyes stare out of a long head with a look that says, “I come for all you hold dear — or at least enjoy nibbling with your champagne.” And it is a HUNTER, according to Agence France-Presse:
The worm can even pursue gastropods up tree trunks — and when supplies of snails run out, it can tuck into other soil species, including earthworms.
Aaaa! Hide your kids, hide your wife! If you’re a European snail, anyway.
Get Grist in your inbox