Gardeners beware -- the invasive Amynthas agrestis, also known as the Asian jumping worm, could be wiggling around a garden near you. These worms are known for their insatiable appetite and ability to jump a foot in the air. Yes, you read that right.
"True to their name, they jump and thrash immediately when handled, behaving more like a threatened snake than a worm, sometimes even breaking and shedding their tail when caught," said the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in a report, adding that they have been known to jump off the ground or out of bait cans.
As if that's not disconcerting enough, the worms "are extremely active, aggressive, and have voracious appetites," the CDFA warned in the report. According to recent news coverage, Asian jumping worms have been spotted in California with greater frequency of late.
Native to East Asia, particularly Japan and the Korean Peninsula, these worms began arriving in the United States in the early 1900s, tucked away in the soil of potted plants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since then, the worms have wiggled their way across the U.S. and can now be found in at least 34 states.
Help #NYiMapInvasives find invasive species (like #JumpingWorm, in the video) in their Annual Mapping Challenge, now through July 31. Find invasives, report them to iMap, & watch yourself rise on the leaderboard-maybe earn some fame.