Quick profile: Land planaria

Land planaria, sometimes known as arrow-head worms or hammer-head worms, of the genus Bipalium.

Its Japanese name is kogaibiru (笄蛭), named after an ornamental hair pin.

This is a predatory flatworm.  It feeds on earthworms, snails and slugs.  Some species are invasive – Bipalium nobile, which can reach up to 1 metre in length, for example.


Land planaria spotted on the footpath on November 12, 2011. The shape of the head is reminicant of old style hair pins, hence the name kogaihiru (lit. “hairpin leech”). It is not a leech, but a kind of flatworm.

Primarily nocturnal, and living underground or under leaf litter, this is a creature that is frequently close to human habitation but generally escapes notice – few Japanese people I’ve talked to know of its existence.

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One Response to Quick profile: Land planaria

  1. nishat says:

    To see this worm, see my video. If you like, please subscribe to my channel:

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