We recently heard from a reader who discovered something intriguing while hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. She was near a stream when she thought she noticed the remnants of a snake. She took a bunch of photographs and shared them with her friend who is a life science teacher. Together they concluded that what they found was actually a segmented worm! As most of us do when we are curious about something, she hit the internet. She found an article we wrote in 2014 about Giant Earthworms in the Sierra Nevada mountains, so she figured she would reach out to us to see if we could solve this mystery. She sent us two photographs. The first picture encompasses just how long this worm is:
Our reader then pulled some of the worm out so that she could get a better look at the texture. She said it was exactly like a wet noodle (gross!) In the second picture we can also see the segmentation of the creature:
What a fascinating creature! We have never seen or heard of anything quite like this specimen. As we mentioned earlier, we have written articles about giant worms, and one reader did find a worm in the Sierra Nevada mountains that could have been a giant earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris.) However, we aren’t convinced that this reader discovered a giant earthworm. Giant earthworms look like normal earthworms, they are just much larger. For example, they still have the same reddish/brown/purple segmented body with a clitellum, but they might be over a foot long instead of a few inches long. The worm our reader found is no doubt extremley long and segmented, but its flat and white body is nothing like an earthworm.
We do have one thought about what this specimen might be, but it is not a perfect match. We think there is a small possibility that this is a tapeworm. Tapeworms are flat, white, segmented worms that can grow to be up to 55 feet long. They are usually parasitic worms that live in the digestive tract, but they can survive in the natural environment (in a stream, for example) for a few months under the right conditions.
To wrap up, one of our readers stumbled upon a giant white worm in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Sadly, we aren’t able to confidently identify this worm, but we think it might be a tapeworm based off its appearance. If any of our readers have ideas about this specimen, or have seen it before, we encourage them to comment on this article!
Huge White Worm in Sierra Nevada stream
One of our readers stumbled upon a giant white worm in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Sadly, we aren't able to confidently identify this worm.
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