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Red Creature Staining Carpet is a Bloody Mystery

A woman in the United Kingdom has written to us with a rather odd query. She has found something that may be a larva in her flat (apartment). The little critter is about 1/2" (~13mm) long and seems to be leaking red liquid. In fact, it has stained our reader’s carpet. She would like us to tell her what it might be. She has attached the following picture: It is difficult to tell from the photograph what sort of critter this might be. However, there are very few worms or larva that ooze any kind of blood or other red liquid. Our blood is red because it contains hemoglobin. According to the UCSB ScienceLine website: Hemoglobin is a protein that forms a complex with iron molecules and together they transport oxygen molecules throughout the body. Iron has the property of reflecting red Continue reading [...]
Woolly Worms or Wooly Bear six red segments

Woolly Worms and Winter: Foreteller or Folklore?

Summary: Do the stripes of woolly worms stripes predict the length or severity of winter? It’s a long standing folk tradition that woolly worms, or woolly bears, the caterpillar of the Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) can predict whether the coming winter will be harsh or mild. According to the tradition, the longer the woolly bear's black bands, the longer and more severe the winter will be, and the wider the middle brown band is indicates a milder upcoming winter. If the head end of the caterpillar is dark, the beginning of winter will be longer, darker, and harder. If the tail end is dark, the end of winter will be more severe. Alternate traditions state that if a woolly worm’s coat is thick, it will be a cold winter, or that if a that woolly bear caterpillar crawls in Continue reading [...]

Worm Found in Sink is a Bristle Worm

We attempted to identify the specimen in a photo a reader sent us. At first we thought it could be a centipede, but then we settled on the belief that it is a bristle worm! Continue reading [...]

Segmented Worm with Bristles and Antennae

We just received a message via our Facebook page from a reader who has been finding some curious creatures in her living room. She also included a photo that shows a segmented, light brown critter with plenty of bristly legs and antenna. Our initial assumption is that this is either a centipede or millipede, due to the segments, legs, and antennae. However, the specimen doesn’t really look like either of these, so we want to explore some other options. Continue reading [...]
bristle worm

Bristle Worms Dying in Aquarium

We received a question via the All About Worms Facebook page from a reader whose bristle worms have died in his aquarium. Actually, the worms didn't just die, but "simultaneously combusted," although presumably this can't be taken too literally, as we don't see how worms in a fish tank could be consumed by fire. The reader isn't worried about the worms themselves, but he is concerned if the death of the bristle worms is a bad portent, spelling trouble for the rest of the tank. So, essentially, the reader wants to know what it means when the bristle worms in your aquarium die. Continue reading [...]
bristle worm

Where Can I Find Poisonous Worms?

It is rare to come across a worm that stings outside of tropical regions, but if you do, chances are it is a bristle worm. Bristle worms may release "poison" when it stings, but the poison is not harmful to humans, only other very small animals. Continue reading [...]
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