All posts by Worm Researcher Rebecca

spotted snake millipede

Semi-Transparent Worm with Spots is a Millipede

The images of a nearly transparent worm with spots one of our readers sent presented an interesting challenge. Two of these specimens were found in this reader's shower, and he was concerned they had come from him before going down the drain. He was able to take close up photographs with a high-definition camera; even then certain differentiating characteristics weren't immediately clear. We began by addressing the concern that this might be a parasitic worm of some sort. One type of parasitic worm, Ascaris worms, typically present as more white than transparent, without such pronounced ridges or segments. From the photo, it seemed as though the worm had tapered ends. We investigated as though it was an annelid (oligichaetes), or segmented earthworm. A pot worm is a segmented worms that Continue reading [...]
Millipede curls up in tight circle

Hard-Shell Worms that Curl Up Probably Millipedes

One of our readers has asked about "hard shelled worms about 1/2 to 1 inches long that curl into a tight circle when touched. What are these?" Without a photograph, description of where in the house (or the world!) he found it and any additional physical description, we think he's writing to us about millipedes.Read more about brown and black worms that curl up tight hereMillipedes are arthropods, not insects, of the type Myriapoda (meaning "myriad" or 'uncountably numerous' feet --"pods.") As you can easily imagine, the name comes from the up-to-four feet per segment that can be found on their bodies. They all have a single pair of antennae, simple eyes and a mouth on the underside of the head and are known for their shiny hard bodies. All prefer to live in moist areas and feed on Continue reading [...]
bottom of glass terrarium

Will Tiny Worms In Terrarium Kill Plants?

Our reader has begun an eternity terrarium (pictured), and after three days has started seeing white, threadlike worms in the soil. The soil looks like yard or garden soil, which widens the search, but we think the soil introduced nematodes or nematomorpha-- young horsehair worms. Alongside nematodes, garden soil plays host to a near-limitless number of invertebrates and micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi, protozoans and algal forms. Each can contribute fundamentally to the recycling of organic matter into topsoil with the vital nutrients that plants need to grow. It’s estimated that as many as a billion of these micro-organisms reside in a single gram of soil. Eggs and tiny larvae can hitch-hike in with these microorganisms, on unwashed rocks and shells, or any other backyard Continue reading [...]
wormperhapsmucus

Fearful Mom Wants to Identify Worm or Parasite

One of our readers, a mother of four with many pets, sent us a series of photographs of specimens found in her sink. She is concerned with keeping her family healthy and wonders if any of the photos resemble any parasite we have identified in our research.  To address her concern and complaint of multiple sores on her body, we certainly recommend that this reader seek medical advice, and take a list of her household pets with these photos when she does.We cannot make diagnoses or provide advice of a medical nature. However, we do observe hairlike lines across at least two of the images she sent which may indeed be hairs. With animals present in the house, we might suggest that if the objects she photographed came from the nasal (nose) or tracheal (windpipe/throat) of herself or a family Continue reading [...]
Worm in the Shower

Canadian Worms Can Take A Shower Too

One of our Canadian readers' two-year-old son and her husband had just finished up a shower when they found this worm in the tub. They'd had a shallow bath at one point, after which her husband had taken the shower head down and thoroughly sprayed down the tub, walls, etc. and there was nothing in the tub at that point. After they were done and ready to get out, this was crawling in the bottom of the tub at the opposite end from the drain. From what we're provided, it appears to be an annelid, perhaps a bloodworm but likely an earthworm that rode in on one of the bathers or perhaps found its way into the tub when Dad pulled the shower head out of the wall mount to spray the surround clean.No object or measurement has been included to determine scale but we will estimate this creature Continue reading [...]

Stinging Caterpillar is Probably a Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Our reader writes to us to help identify what "looks like a cross between a slug and a worm or a caterpillar. The bottom is smooth like a slug, the top is brown and appears to have fine hair or bristles, it has short legs like a caterpillar." The reader continues to describe the specimen as having three ridges down its back with a few white feathery tufts on the sides, approximately 1 and 1/2 inches long with a head like a leaf roller, and a tail that looks like hair strands. When her husband found it on his leg, he reported it felt as though it was "stinging" him.We didn't receive a photograph of this worm or larvae, but it does sound like this caterpillar, identified at this website as a wooly worm, but which is actually a banded or spotted tussock moth caterpillar (Halysidota tessellaris Continue reading [...]
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