“I have found these hard-shelled worm-like creatures”, writes our reader, Summer, in her submission regarding the various organisms pictured below. “The first two pictures were found in dryer lint. The third picture was found on the living room carpet. Just was trying to see if y’all could tell me what exactly they are? Thank you!” Firstly, we want to thank our reader for these great photos – they really help us get a good grasp on what kinds of features these creatures possess. Secondly, we think that the creatures in the first photo might be larvae of the bigger bug in the second photo, while the spotted, beige and brown creature in the second photo is most likely a ladybug.
“Found these worms in the backyard and there are a lot!” exclaims this reader in his submission regarding the segmented, yellow worm-like critter pictured below. “I have a small garden there with an orange tree, but the garden is unattended. What are those? They seem to be active in the night and light attracts them I think.” Based on the excellent photo our reader sent in, as well as the helpful context, we would conclude that these are mealworms. Mealworms are the larval stage of the mealworm beetle, which is a species of darkling beetle. As our reader correctly stated, mealworms are nocturnal, and while they are not necessarily attracted to light, they can sense it.
“So I got a rental home in Glendale, AZ, and the first month me and my family were fine”, starts this reader in his submission regarding the long, thin, black worm-like critter pictured below. “Well, the second month being in this home, the city of Glendale decided to clean out the sewers. Ever since then it has only been me and my dog and I feel like we are the ones being infected by these things. I honestly think I have a few that I have in mind. I think it’s microflair or lymphatic filariasis, and the other two I think are a Guinea worm, which I contracted from my dog, and horsehair worms, AKA Gordian worms. So I see black and white thin-like parasites, but the black ones are a lot bigger and huger, I guess you can say. And then, when they, like, go over each other, they produce a greyish little one – well, that’s what it looks like to me. My husband and the people I live with honestly think I’m going crazy.”
“I’ve found this worm/larva a few times recently in one of my toilets”, states our reader from South Carolina in his submission regarding the black, segmented worm-like critter pictured below. “At first I thought it was a leaf that might have fallen off my dog’s face, but when I saw it the second/third time I noticed it was moving. It’s about 3/4-1” long, about 1/4 wide and 1/4” high. It’s dark brown/black, segmented, has hairs (legs?) at the lower side or underside, and moves like a caterpillar. The narrow tapered end seems to be the head as that’s the direction it crawls. No one has used the toilet prior to finding them. YES, my dogs do drink from the toilet. I’m concerned now that I see it’s alive, that it may be coming from my dog as he drinks? It does look similar to a few things I’ve seen on your site, but finding them in the toilet is throwing me. I’m located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and have seen them four times in the past two weeks. Thanks for any guidance you can offer.”
“Trying to identify this as I just took the dog to hospital for what looked like a seizure and found this where he was”, writes this reader in her submission regarding the dark brown worm-like organism pictured below. “Scared this may be the cause. What is it?” Right off the bat, we will have to inform our reader that we can unfortunately not identify this worm, given its possible connection to her dog’s health issue. In fact, we never identify organisms that could be the cause of a health problem, as those situations are always medical in nature, and since we are not medical professionals, we are neither qualified nor legally able to provide such identification, as doing so would be tantamount to giving a diagnosis.
“What kind of worm is this?” is all this reader writes in his submission. Fortunately, our reader did send in more than one photo, which does provide some context so far as a photo of a worm is able to. But it is actually this second photo, which sees the worm flipped on its back, that tells us the identity of this worm. Now, for a worm to even have a backside, it needs to have a body which is not tubular like an earthworm’s. And when the underside is a different color than the top, this tells us one more thing: this is probably a flatworm.
“What is this worm?” asks this reader in his submission regarding the little, brownish worm pictured below. “Found among algae in the backyard koi pond in northern Illinois. Travels by attaching (perhaps by suction) one end and feeling around with the other. Can stretch to well over 4 times its resting length. Seeks air if submerged. Appears to be slightly flat. Was discovered clinging to hand. Found today. No discernible segmentation.” The thing that caught our eye in the excellent photo our reader sent in is the flattish part at one end of its body, which we assume to be its head. This is likely the part that it uses to “attach” itself to things and move along using, as our reader stated, “suction”. Based on this, as well as its appearance, we are inclined to say that this is likely a leech.
“Can you tell me what this is?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the long, white objects pictured below. “I found it on the steps to my deck in Mansfield, Ohio. They look like long blonde hair but some of it moves like a worm. Thank you for your time!” Now, if we were to assume that these are organisms, and look only at the photograph our reader sent in, we would suggest these could be horsehair worms, as they can look like this – like long strands of “blonde hair”.
“What are these little worm-like bugs?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the horde of tiny, black creatures pictured below. “They literally appeared overnight, and were attached to the cord on my blinds. They stick off horizontally and kinda wiggle.” Based on the number of these found, as well as their appearance, we would say that these are newly-hatched moth caterpillars, specifically American ermine moth caterpillars, though they could also be fall armyworms. At this early on in their life cycle, it is difficult to tell the difference between the two species.
“Is this a carpet beetle larva?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the tiny, brown creature pictured below. “I found it in my bed and I am not sure since it seems smaller than the others. If not a carpet beetle larva, then what is it?” Based on the photo alone, we would say that this is indeed a carpet beetle larva. The stripes, bristles, and shape all point to this conclusion. Carpet beetle larvae are infamous household pests, as they like to munch on textiles much like the sheets on our reader’s bed on which the bug was found. In addition to bed sheets, they like to feed on carpets, rugs, clothing, loose hair and fur, and any other items made from organic materials like cotton, wool, feathers, leather and more.
“I have several black wormlike creatures covering some leaves on a Fothergilla bush,” writes this reader in her submission regarding the critters pictured below. “They are black on top with a segmented pattern and very yellow underbellies. I just noticed them and I live in Transylvania County, NC. Thank you!” First off, we want to thank our reader for the spectacular photos – the amount of detail she captured is immaculate, and the lighting is excellent. Good quality photos really help us make out the finer details of a given worm’s physical appearance, which then helps us identify them. Secondly, the worm-like creatures our reader found on the bush are dogwood sawfly larvae.
“What is this?” is all this reader asks about the little brown bug pictured below. Although she provides no context, which is usually imperative to us being able to identify any given organism, we have seen this critter about a thousand times: this is a carpet beetle larva. Carpet beetles are notorious insects that feed on textile items such as clothing, bed sheets and, yes, carpets. As such, they have earned the status of ‘pest’, as infestations of them can cause significant damage to such items in one’s home, and they can often go unnoticed for long periods of time.
“I live in Madison County, Kentucky, USA, and today I found a small worm on the floor in my bedroom”, writes this reader in his submission about the thin, pink worm pictured below. “My room is on the second floor of my house, and the bathroom is almost directly outside it. I have three cats (strictly indoor, they almost always stay in my room due to my little brother not knowing how to pet them nicely) and since I found this worm near their food bowls, I am very worried it might be in some way parasitic or harmful to them. I included a diagram with a pencil for size reference since my phone quality isn’t very good, but the worm itself is also in the picture of the diagram as well as the other pictures. I think I’m going to flush this worm for now, but I’m hoping to identify it and see if this is a problem in case another one shows up in the future! Thank you for your time!”
“I found this thing apparently crawling away from a scene of carnage in my dining room in Fayetteville, NY, not far from Syracuse”, writes this reader in his submission regarding the black, segmented worm-like creature pictured below. “One of my cats got a mouse, started eating it, but apparently was grossed out and threw up not far from the headless corpse of the mouse. In the process of cleaning that up, I noticed what I thought was a small cat turd about 3-4 ft away, but as I picked it up with a paper towel, it moved. And it appeared to have crawled away from the kill site.
“Can you please identify the worm in this picture that is found in human urine?” is all this reader asks in his submission regarding the gray and pink worm pictured below. The worm is rather long, segmented, and has semi-transparent skin: at least, so we think. Our theory is that the pink part near the end of its body is a view into the inside of the worm. Based on the photo, we would think this is some type of annelid, though our identification should not be taken at face value. The reason for this is the lack of context of our reader’s situation: he does not specify if the worm came from someone’s body, and was then found in their urine, or if somebody peed, then looked in the toilet, and saw the worm there.
“What is this?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the translucent organisms pictured below. “It is about 1/4 inch long and is under my sticky tile on my floor next to the plywood. There are millions of babies and white looking eggs.” We think that the organisms our reader found are flea larvae: their translucent bodies and dark entrails point to this fact. The location in which they were found is quite strange: usually they are found near a source of food, like on a bed or in a wardrobe.
“I found this in my loo”, writes this reader about the long, dark worm pictured below in a toilet bowl. “Please help.” He provides no further context, and we must say that the photo he provided is quite dark and not the best quality, which makes it harder to see the worm’s physical characteristics (other than the obvious ones). With that said, we can still make an educated guess as to what it is, and in any case, we would guess that it is some kind of detritivore. Detritivores are organisms that feed on decomposing organic matter, and there are plenty of worms and worm-like organisms that fit this description, including earthworms and millipedes.
“I found this worm on the abdomen of my short haired dog”, writes this reader in her submission regarding the dark green worm-like critter pictured below. “The vet had no idea. The dog was born in South Carolina but has lived six years in western NY, including time spent in one of the finger lakes.” To start with, we want to compliment our reader on the fantastic photo she took, and thank her for it, as it really helps us narrow down what the organism could be. The photo shows a long stripe running down the middle of the worm’s body, and also shows what looks like a bulbous, black head. Additionally, it looks almost as if the worm is more flat than round in shape.
“On the foundation wall, where there is a hole for an electrical conduit going outside, I found these dried up worms”, states this reader in his submission regarding the multitude of black worm-like creatures pictured below. “I live in Seattle. Our basement furnace room is dry and warm. This hole is below ground level. Any idea what they are? Thanks!” Upon zooming in on this fantastic photo, it looks like the worms have two distinct sides, an upper and lower side, both of which are different colors, the top side being black and bottom side being a beige-ish color.
“What is this worm?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the small, black organism pictured below. “How do I get rid of it? They’re everywhere. I’m in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.” Based on the excellent photo she sent, we think that this is a millipede. Its segmentation, size, and antennae point to this conclusion, as well as the apparent lack of legs. What we must note is that millipedes actually possess many legs, and that is what they are known for, but since they grow from the underside of their bodies, they are often not visible. As such, people often mistake millipedes for worms and marvel at how they seemingly glide across a surface.