“I’m hoping someone can help me ID this very weird worm I found in a drop of water in our shower stall (hours after its last use)”, writes Leah in her submission regarding the creature pictured below. “I’m in Eastern Ontario. I thought maybe it was a drain fly or centipede but have been told it appears to be a worm. Any thoughts? Sorry for the poor quality photo. I’d really appreciate any assistance!” We do agree that this is a very strange-looking worm. It has qualities that remind us of creatures we are familiar with: the triangular-shaped head reminds us of a hammerhead worm or even a snake, but the two thin string-like appendages at the rear look like antennae (which would normally be on the head of an organism) which remind us of centipedes, which Leah already picked up on. That said, we do not think it is a drain fly (or drain fly larva). We also agree that the photo is unfortunately quite poor quality, which makes it hard for us to discern any other identifying features and give a confident identification.
“At least, I think they are worms”, writes Jay in his submission regarding the tubular, orange objects pictured below. “They are in my garden, and clearly invertebrate. I’m in south-central Wisconsin, north of Madison by about 1/2 hour drive.” We have certainly never seen worms that look like these. At first sight, we thought of carrots, albeit hollow carrots. But these are clearly not carrots. That said, they are also not worms. They are actually a species of fungus called Mutinus elegans. These guys have many nicknames, including elegant stinkhorn, dog stinkhorn, headless stinkhorn, and much more.
“I’m a wildlife carer and currently have two baby noisy miners. Today I found the photographed larvae (?) in their nest”, writes Lee in her submission regarding the translucent creature with dark entrails pictured below. “Was hoping to find out what it is.” For context for our other readers, a noisy miner is a type of bird endemic to Australia. It is very pretty, with grey, white, and yellow markings, and is named after its noisy nature. From the photo alone, we are not sure what these creatures are that Lee found, though we do agree that they are probably larvae of some kind, given their shape and general physical appearance.
“What are the little black maggot-looking larvae that are in creeks?” asks Crystal in her submission. “They live under leaves and they are only in creeks once a year. I used to fish with them but I don’t know what they are.” Crystal does not attach any photos to her submission, which makes it much harder to narrow down the list of suspects for this creature that Crystal is searching for. Unfortunately, there are a lot of worm-like creatures that fit Crystal’s description. They could be anything from millipedes to rosemary beetle larvae to leeches. With that said, we have tried to narrow down our educated guesses to two species that are more “maggot-looking” than the others, and which tend to live near creeks and streams.
“Is this a worm?” asks Darlene in her submission regarding the thin, white worm-like organism pictured below. “And if so what kind? I find these in my car and they always look the same. I can wash my car completely and when I come back in they are on the dashboard. They’re very hard to see – either white or translucent. The only time you can really see them is on the black dashboard. I used a piece of tape to keep it intact.” Now, some extra context would have been super helpful here. Like, where is the car parked and does she leave the windows open? Are the worms found mangled, and that is why Darlene needed a piece of tape to keep them intact? Regardless, we will do our best to provide Darlene some info based on the different possible scenarios.
“I noticed my solar sprinkler bucket was empty yesterday, so I filled it with fresh water. When I looked today, all these little black things were scooting around the bottom of the bucket”, writes this reader in her submission, which unfortunately does not include a photo. “When I move the sprinkler to see them, they scuttle under it again. Can’t get a good photo. The biggest one is about a quarter inch. They move like caterpillars but faster. Don’t know if they were nesting inside the sprinkler head or if they fell off the honeysuckle.” Since our reader did not send in any photos with her submission, nor did she describe them in much detail, we will say right off the bat that we will be unable to provide a certain or accurate identification.
“I can’t figure out what this is”, writes Thomas in his submission regarding the thin, white worm-like creature pictured below. “I found it in my backyard soil. It’s extremely thin and maybe four inches long. You can see how small it is by the wire it’s crawling on for size and the mite that goes near it. It looked like a piece of fishing line at first but then I noticed it moving. It’s mostly clear/white in color with some black insides. I’ve been trying to find what it is but I can’t find anything similar to this. Do you know what it is? Thanks.” To start with, we want to thank Thomas for his incredible photo, which has definitely been magnified, as the green wire that the worm is crawling on looks like a pipe! We also want to thank him for the context which is super helpful.
“While sitting on the couch, I noticed there was something very tiny and dark moving on my arm”, writes Catherine in her submission, which unfortunately does not include a photo. “About the length of an eyelash and not much thicker. I could distinguish a small head and it was moving around like a caterpillar. The more prominent head and movement makes me think of a larva. After hours of internet searching, the closest comparison I found was that it looks like a dark, micro-sized moth larva. After finding the one, I noticed three more on my other arm. That’s when I ran for the shower. I shook my hair over the sink and nothing. I did find a dead one on the shower wall after rinsing myself.
At AllAboutWorms.com, we get a lot of submissions about worms and worm-like creatures. This article will briefly outline some of the creatures that belong to the latter group. When we think of worms, we often think of an earthworm. But typically, when we find any elongated creature in the wild that remotely resembles a worm, we also assume it is one. Now, one might argue that one should not get hung up on details, but it also isn’t just a case of semantics. Knowing the difference between various species will determine how you react to a given animal, and will equip you with the knowledge of how to deal with them: are they likely to infest your home? Is your health and safety at risk? Of course, even within the category of animals that are strictly worms, you can ask these same questions, as there are thousands of worm species. But the point of this article is to identify the most common critters which are mistaken as worms, so as to educate people, but also just for fun.
“What is this?” asks Amanda in her submission regarding the organism pictured below. “How is it luminous and segmented, in so many colors? Is that a second eyeball half way down its body or a second head? It’s about the size of a cat hair, small to medium in length.” To answer Amanda’s first question, we have no idea what this is. Not only does the description of the worm not sound familiar to us, but the photo is too blurry for us to make out any identifying information. All we can see from the photo is that the worm is very thin, indeed like “cat hair”, and that it does possess the luminescence that Amanda describes. But we cannot think of any worms that are hair-thin, luminous, multicolored, and segmented.
“Today I found this kind of worm on a beach (underwater by the rocks) and I’m wondering what it is,” writes Nuno in his submission regarding the black and white-striped creature pictured below. “Can you please help me? Thanks!” Firstly, we want to thank Nuno for the fantastic picture. The lighting and resolution are so good that we get a lot of identifying information from this photo: such as the the minute white stripes that form incomplete circles around its body, the inconsistent shape of its body, and even down to the texture of its skin (or at least, the kind of texture it looks to have). Secondly, we definitely can help Nuno given that he provided such a good photo and a vital piece of context: he found the worm on the beach.
“I found this caterpillar crawling on this rock outside my garage”, writes this reader in her submission regarding the black and yellow creature pictured below. “I live in Central Minnesota. I haven’t been able to identify it and I’m hoping you can tell me what it is? Thank you!” To start with, we want to thank our reader right back for this absolutely incredible photo! It is photos like these that make identifying the organisms we are asked about so much easier. Besides, they make a wonderful addition to our library. And because of this, we can indeed tell our reader what this is. This is a dogwood sawfly larva.
“What is this?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the brown, segmented, worm-like creature pictured below. “We found some small doughnut shaped eggs in our sandbox and we watched one of them hatch into an inch-long caterpillar! Here is a photo of the egg and one of the hatched larva!” Based on the excellent photo of the critter itself, we would say these are tomato pinworms, a type of moth caterpillar that, as their name suggests, eat tomatoes. They also eat potatoes and eggplants, as well as different types of weeds. With that said, tomato pinworm eggs do not look like the ones our reader found. The doughnut shape reminds us more of gall wasp eggs. However, gall wasp larvae do not look like the creature our reader found: they are white in color.
“This was in my toilet, not seen until after I went to the bathroom”, writes Ginger in her submission regarding the dark green worm pictured below. “I’m concerned whether it’s a human worm or parasite? Or was it lurking in the toilet unnoticed before I used the toilet?” Now, there are a plethora of worms and worm-like organisms that can come up through people’s toilets. The reason for this is usually because there is a leak somewhere underground in the piping through which the worms enter. Ginger will be able to notice that there is a leak if she notices one of many of the following signs: discolored water, foul-smelling or -tasting water, and inconsistencies in water pressure and temperature.
“I pray you receive some of my emails and can help with identifying these”, writes this reader in his submission regarding the two, distinctly different-looking organisms pictured below. “I have hours of digital footage on a cheap microphone and so many pics. I live in Richmond Hill, Georgia.” Firstly, we have to point out that, from what we can tell by looking at these photos, it looks like they were taken through a microscope. We cannot know that for certain, but when we compare it to other submissions we have received where the photos were taken like that, the similarity is significant. In any case, the photos have a strange quality about them.
“I found a similar article about white worms in terrariums, but I wanted to be sure I had the same bugs!” exclaims this reader in her submission regarding the translucent worms pictured below. “These white worms don’t appear to be actively moving, and I just noticed them today after having made this terrarium from moss from my yard last month. There’s the white worms, and then another two that appear different. One is browner and looks to have antennae, and the other appears to have legs? I don’t want my other house plants to get infected! This moss was harvested from Pittsburgh, PA.”
“I found this bright red worm in my bathroom sink (washbasin)”, writes this reader in her submission regarding the striped worm-like creature pictured below. “1) Should I be worried? Are they dangerous? 2) Did it come from the tap, therefore possibly from the house’s water tank? Or did it come up from the drain? 3) What steps should I take?” To start with, we want to compliment our reader on the fantastic photo, as well as the great questions she asked. They are all fantastic questions to ask when finding a worm, or any kind of unknown organism. In our opinion, this looks like it could be a California blackworm.
This reader found “weird, clear-looking worms” in her home, and attached the photo below in her submission. They are “about a centimeter to two inches long. They look like a clear piece of string, all over my clothes and house. They wiggle around and almost have a dot for a face or head.” To start with, we have to say that we cannot see the worm in the photo. All we see is our reader’s thumb and knee. This is likely because the worms are so thin, and are translucent, but nonetheless, without being able to see the worm in the photo, we cannot provide a confident or accurate identification. Of course, we will still do our best to help our reader identify this creature.
“I have found these “worms” on the roof of my extension”, writes this reader about the thick, grayish green, worm-like creature pictured below. “They only come out when it rains, but there are lots of them! What are they? How can I get rid of them?” Firstly, we want to commend our reader on the excellent photo she sent in, as well as the helpful context and excellent questions. Secondly, we have come to an identification of this creature. We think she found a cranefly larva. Crane flies, typically referred to as ‘flying daddy long legs’ or giant mosquitoes, are neither of these two creatures: neither spiders nor mosquitoes. Which is a good thing! Crane flies are completely harmless to humans and pets.
“What is this worm?” is all this reader asks in her submission regarding the orange, worm-shaped object pictured below. The thing looks rather goopy; we might even go so far as to say it does not look completely solid. As much as our reader has captured a striking photo, we must say right off the bat that we have no idea what this is. It doesn’t seem to have any distinguishable features, like eyespots, segmentations, appendages, or varying coloration. It just looks like a cream-colored blob. On top of that, without any context whatsoever, we would not be able to identify the creature based on any other factors.