help identify an unusual invertebrate

Tom Merchant tmerchant at gatech.campus.mci.net
Tue Apr 29 16:01:13 EST 1997


Just got home, and crawling across the sidewalk was an unusual
invertebrate that I've never seen before (Not that I've seen 'em all).
Anyway, at first glance it looked like an earthworm: round, about 10"
long and 1/8" across, not visibly segmented. Crawling on its belly and
leaving a slime trail behind; definitely a crawling, not serpentine
motion. But what was unusual was that it had a head shaped like a
shovel, not unlike the head of a hammerhead shark, about twice as wide
as the body, and flattened (it wasn't a partially squished
earthworm!). My first impression is that of a planarian, but this is
definitely round. There is also a distinct black stripe down the back;
the basic coloration is a tannish-brown, and the black stripe seems to
be pigmentation, not a dorsal blood vessel. The tail end was blunt,
not tapered.

Anyway, I relocated it to where is would be less likely to get stepped
on. I didn't have a magnifier to see any greater detail.

This is in Atlanta, Georgia. We have had some rain the past day or so,
and the soil is pretty much saturated. Again, I've never encountered
anything like this, and none of my field guides cover invertebrates.

Any clues to what this is?

Thanks in advance.



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