We recently heard from a reader in southwestern Florida. She found a worm-like-organism in the sand in her backyard. She is curious about what this creature is. Finally, she mentioned that she has a dog….though we aren’t sure how this is relevant. Does she think the worm came from the dog? Or is she worried about the dog interacting with or eating the worm? She didn’t elaborate beyond stating that she has a dog. Anyways, below are some photos of the creature in question. In the second photo, the bend in the organism is from the reader squeezing it.
The organism is brown, has at least one set of anterior legs (there might be another set or two), and a short tail. Based on the presence of legs, we believe this creature is actually a larva and not a worm. So what kind of larva are we dealing with?
We believe what our reader has found is likely a wireworm! Wireworms, also known as sand wireworms, are the larvae of click beetles. The larvae live and develop in the soil, where they eat freshly planted stems, roots, and tubers. Their feeding habits can cause serious damage to crop fields, especially corn and potatoes, so farmers often consider wireworms to be minor (or major) pests.
So why was this wireworm in our reader’s sandy backyard? Well to put it simply, we don’t know. She didn’t mention if she was growing crops, which might explain its presence. Since she didn’t find an abundance of these larvae, we suggest she simply put it back in its natural environment. If she continues to find wireworms in her backyard, then she might consider taking measures to remove them. However, we don’t think she should worry about getting rid of these critters. They aren’t harmful to humans or dogs.
To end, a reader found a wireworm in the sand in her yard. We believe the creature-in-question is a wireworm, or click beetle larva. Finally, since we are confident in this identification, we think it is safe to say that the critter didn’t come from her dog. However, if our reader is worried about the health of her dog, we recommend she take it to a vet since we are not animal health professionals!