“What are rope worms?” asks one of our readers in Canada. This is all she writes in her submission, and yet this short, simple question is an excellent one. It’s a question that has been posed many times on the internet, with very different responses coming from all sides. The truth of the matter is that rope worms are not really worms at all. What ‘rope worms’ actually refers to is the mucus that is shed by the human intestines. The point of intestinal mucus is to protect our body from harmful microorganisms that could enter our bloodstream through our intestines, and humans excrete intestinal mucus all the time, like we constantly shed skin. But we do not excrete this music in the rope-like structures that ‘rope worms’ refer to. Excretion of intestinal mucus in this fashion could be a sign of gastrointestinal problems.
“Can you please help identify this worm?” asks Ashley about the tiny, black worm-like creature pictured below (which is barely visible on the photo). “The pest control came and said that in 30 years he’s never seen this kind of worm. They are smaller than an eyelash. Thank you so much!” Firstly, we want to note to our other readers that, despite the photo being quite of poor resolution and not showing the worm clearly, Ashley did send in an excellent video (linked below) of the worm moving about. This brings us to our second point: based on the video, we would venture a guess and say that this might be a flea larva.
An All About Worms reader has discovered that the symptoms they were experiencing, including little threads of hair-like things, and the thread-like things stinging them, are not parasites at all but instead turned out to be mold illness caused by previously undetected mold in their house. Ken urges people to consider this possibility and get your house tested for mold.
“I found this thing in the bathroom!” writes Sade about the little black bug in the picture below. “Horrifying! It seemed to have fallen off somewhere – either from the toilet or the toilet paper hanging beside the toilet as I didn’t see it when I first opened the toilet, then noticed something plopped into the water a second after. I hope it didn’t come from me!” Upon zooming in on the photo, the organism looks to have legs, and a translucent body. That said, the photo is taken in quite poor lighting, and the resolution is not the best, so we will say that any identifications we make are educated guesses, and are not 100% certain.
“I found this worm on my sink, what is it?” is all Shelley writes in her submission regarding the long, thin, dark-colored worm pictured below. Unfortunately, the photo is of a poor resolution, and the lighting is also poor, meaning that it is impossible for us to make out the finer details of the creature’s physical characteristics. Because of this, it becomes very difficult for us to identify the organism based on its appearance, and without any context, it becomes virtually impossible.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“Three and a half years ago I had occasion to visit with my father, and during the long term visit encountered some type of parasitic bug/worm”, writes this reader in her submission. “It seems that the “bug/worm” things are various colors but usually range anywhere from clear, white, tan, orange, yellow, chlorophyll green, red, pink (I believe it’s due to where and on what they lay their eggs), and come in 2-3 different shapes and sizes (I think it’s just different levels of their life cycles) – from microscopic to the size of a large flake of dandruff. They are so small that it’s very difficult to see any details with the naked eye, so I bought several different brands of Android cell phones which had better and better zoom quality on the cameras and then I purchased a microscope that clips onto the cell phones.”
“I have black, thin worms and clear ones all over and in my body”, writes this reader in their submission regarding the white organism pictured below. “Can you help me identify these? The doctors say they are not there. There are also long thin clear white ones. Thank you so much.” Right off the bat, we will need to inform our reader that we will unfortunately not be able to identify these worms. The reason for this is because they have explicitly stated that they have been found inside her body and that they have consulted a doctor about them. As such, we have to assume that this situation is potentially medical in nature, and because we are not medical professionals, we are thus neither qualified nor legally able to identify such worms.
“What is this?” asks this reader about the long, thin, white worm pictured below slithering over some big rocks. “It is a live worm as thick as a thread of cotton. Many thanks.” She does not provide more context than this, though based on the photo alone, we would say this most resembles a horsehair worm. Unfortunately, the horsehair worm has garnered an unsavory reputation that is founded in a lot of misinformation. Also referred to as a Gordian worm, because of its tendency to tangle in on itself like the mythical Gordian knot, the horsehair worm is a parasitic worm that only takes insects and other smaller invertebrates as hosts.
“Identity please?” is all this reader writes in her submission regarding the long, off-white worm-like creature pictured below. In any case where the worm photographed is not unique in its appearance and thus instantly recognizable, identifying a worm based only on a photo is nearly impossible without context. For that reason, we will not be able to provide our reader with a concrete identity of this organism: its white color and nondescript body renders this worm generic in appearance, which is makes it all that much harder to pinpoint its exact identity. With that said, what we will do is provide an educated guess and give our reader some pointers as to what she might want to do, depending on what her concerns are.
“Can you help me identify this worm?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the white organism pictured below. “It’s super tiny and I have been getting bites which have left welts. The last ones have even pushed up.” We are not exactly sure what our reader means in this last sentence, but, in any case, we will unfortunately not be able to identify this worm-like critter. This is due to our reader expressly stating that the organism is harming her body, and as such, the situation becomes potentially medical in nature. Since we are not medical professionals, we are not qualified, or legally able, to identify such creatures, as doing so would be tantamount to providing a medical diagnosis.
“I had a horrific feeling of something crawling up my nose”, begins this reader in her submission about the worm-like creature pictured below. “I blew my nose continuously and it still hurt. When I breathed in, it hurt. I sneezed and sneezed. Finally, I blew out this tiny worm, white/beige: it had a sharp point at the end. I felt intense relief. I had no other symptoms. It is about 1 cm (0.4-inches). It was very much alive! Now, I am paranoid that I am infested with pupae. Do you think this could be a one time event? We live in the country, deep in the woods, in the South. We do have all sorts of insects around. I do my best to keep them out of the house. I will enclose a picture. Thank you so much!”
“I live in South Louisiana and have recently been having worms in my bed sheets”, states this reader in her submission regarding the minuscule organism pictured below. “They are black to white in color. I think they might be moths as I have let some clothes stay outside in the laundry room, but would like a more clear identification.” Upon zooming in on the photo, we would say that these are probably not moth larvae, but rather flea larvae. Not to worry though, flea larvae are not harmful to humans or animals, unlike their adult counterparts. While the adult flea is an external parasite (ectoparasite) that attaches itself to the skin of mammals and sucks their blood, their larvae solely feed on dead insects, faeces, hair, fur and other dead or decomposing organic matter.
“I live in Toronto, Ontario, and was wondering if you could identify this worm/larvae”, states this reader about the white worm-like creature pictured below. “This small larva, which is approximately half an inch in length, was found in the bathroom and may have been an intestinal parasite (due to how it was discovered). It moves quickly and seems to have six small appendages and a segmented upper body. It has a small reddish brown “head.” It looks closest to a clothing moth larva, but the body shape is not the same and it is physically flatter. Any help would be greatly appreciated.” Now, since our reader states that he thinks it may be an intestinal parasite, we cannot identify this organism for him. This is because we are not medical professionals, and are thus not qualified or legally able to identify any organisms that affect the health of humans or animals.
“Can you identify this please?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the minuscule, black, twisted-looking organism pictured below. “This was coughed up”, she explains, though she does not add anything else in her submission. Regardless, we will not be able to identify this organism, and the reason for this is because it came from her body. Any situation in which an organism comes from a person or animal’s body must be presumed to be medical in nature, as we cannot risk making an identification that will be misconstrued as a diagnosis. Since we are not medical professionals, we are neither qualified nor legally able to make these kinds of identifications in the first place. What we can do is point our reader in the direction of some resources she can use to find someone that is qualified to answer her questions and identify what came out of her nose.
“I found this in my home”, states this reader about the long, white worm-like organism pictured below. “I have been tortured lately by some unknown “thing” in my house. May it be bugs, worms, or something else; I found this when I woke up after a very rough night. I got a ton of bites on me. I’m not sure what’s going on but please give advice. Any is helpful. I know you can’t give medical advice but if you can try to identify the possible “worm” pictures that would be great. I was leaning towards a tapeworm possibly. Thank you for your time.”
“I picked what seems to be some type of small black worm and maybe a mite”, writes this reader in his submission regarding the minuscule organism pictured below. “Their bite can be painful and they are penetrating and seem to be nesting in my skin. I cannot find what they are and I have tried everything. I have tea about biting bugs to get rid of them. 200 degrees heating of my semi, 140 degree heating of my clothes: they live through the wash. Please help me as I am infested.” First things first, we need to make clear that we will unfortunately not be able to identify these creatures. This is because our reader has made it very clear that they are infesting his body and causing health problems for him. As such, we can only assume the situation is medical in nature. Since we are not medical professionals, we are neither qualified nor legally able to identify organisms that cause such issues, because doing so would be tantamount to providing a diagnosis, and taking a non-medical professional’s medical advice can do more harm than good.
“I found this worm on the hardwood floor in the living room”, states this reader in her submission regarding the white worm-like creature pictured below. “It’s just under an inch in length. Very thin. One end appears to have a darker end (possibly the eyes/head). I recently got a rabbit. Thought maybe it was a pinworm/threadworm but haven’t seen anything like this before. The rabbit’s cage was clean with no signs of worms.” Now, a thin, white larva with a brown head is about as generic of a description of a worm-like creature as you can get, but nonetheless we have identified this as a stiletto fly larva.