• Add to new collection
    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 1 December 2005 Referencing Hub media

    These roundworms live in the digestive system of possums. They are found naturally in possums in the North Island of New Zealand, and don't appear to harm the possums. Scientists are hoping that they might be able to modify the worms so that possums infected with them become less fertile. This would help to control the number of new possums born in New Zealand each year.


    Dr Warwick Grant (AgResearch)
    When a possum is found by one of these worms, the infected stage of the worm burrows through the skin of the possum. But they are really tiny, so the possum doesn’t know that has happened. And then over the course of the next couple of days that little worm finds its way to the small intestine, where it sits down and grows to about a centimetre or so long, and then it basically just sits there. The possums don’t seem to mind. There are plenty of possums running round in NZ and in Australia where the nematodes or the parasites originally came from, carrying parasites and apparently perfectly happy. So its one of the like many nematode parasites, you carry a few of them around and you never know.