We recently received an email from a reader who found a small and thin red worm crawling on her shower curtain. The reader immediately goes on to say that she is “assuming the worm is a bloodworm,” and we think this is as reasonable of a suggestion as any. The reader planned to remove the small red worm from her curtain after her shower, but by the time she had finished, the bloodworm (sometimes written as “blood worm”) had disappeared. The reader thought that this might mean that the bloodworm “hitch-hiked a ride somewhere on my body,” which led to her question for us: are bloodworms harmful?
The classification of earthworms is a subject that can be approached from several different directions. Classically, one would endeavor to classify a group of creatures with respect to their shared phylogeny; that is, the shared evolutionary ancestry of the group of species in question would dictate their overarching classificatory structure. In the case of earthworms, however, researchers have instead opted to adopt a lexicon based more on earthworms’ functional-ecological roles than on their genetic heritage (although we must note that the two often, though not always, can be found to coincide). To that end, we present a brief overview of the three principal categories of earthworms that constitute the dominant classificatory paradigm of today’s researchers: epigeic, endogeic, and anecic. These categories are closely related to earthworms’ habits within soil, as explained forthwith.
We received an email a while back from a reader who is finding brown worms under her couch. The reader described the worms as brown and hard, and also mentioned that they have many legs. The reader asked several questions, but she was primarily concerned with determining what the worms are (hint: they aren’t worms, but larvae), and she was also keen to get rid of them. She was so alarmed by the presence of the brown, hard creatures under her couch, in fact, that she is considering getting new carpet and furniture, and ended her email with an emphatic cry for help. So, what are the brown worms (or actually larvae) under the furniture, and how can she get rid of them?
A reader wrote to us the other day about “little worms all over [her] laundry room,” which is near a closet that holds the trash. The small, brown worms are “all over the walls, the floor, the trash/closet, washer/dryer, even hanging from the ceiling from single thread webs.” However, they are only in this one area of the house, so apparently the worms originated in this area and haven’t spread. The reader is wondering what the brown worms are, why they are in her house, and how to get rid of them.
A reader wrote to us the other day about some small, striped worms she found by her cat’s food. The reader’s cat “doesn’t seem to carry worms on him,” and she has looked in vain for information on the worms she found. The reader is “kind of panicking right now,” and so she asked us a series of questions in rapid succession about the cat food worms: “Are these worms dangerous for humans? Are they dangerous for my cat? Do I need an exterminator? What are they? Are they parasites?” This is a lot of questions, but they are all wrapped up with the matter of identification – the “what are they?” part of the list of questions – and since we have a reasonably good idea of what the worms by the cat food are, all the questions can be handled more or less at the same time.