“I am from Ohio and have seen this near the dog’s bowl am not sure if it is a worm or just mucus”, writes Santos regarding the white, worm-like object pictured below. “This is the only one I have seen. Thanks.” We are with Santos on this one: we are not sure if this is a worm either. It has qualities that remind of us worm-like organisms we have seen before, including a darker, circular bit that looks like a head, somewhere around the middle of the body. Obviously, that’s not where heads go on an animal, so this had us thinking this might be two worms rather than one, if it is a worm at all. In any case, it definitely looks suspicious for mucus, so we understand why Santos is concerned.
“I found these in our toilet after five days of no use”, writes Cindy about the swarm of black worm-like creatures pictured below. “One of my grandchildren used the toilet last. Could these be pinworms?” First and foremost, we have to make clear that we will unfortunately not be able to confirm or deny if these are pinworms. For context, pinworms are parasitic worms that situate themselves in the intestines of their hosts. They are very common in children, so we understand Cindy’s concern, especially since these were found in a toilet. However, we are not qualified or legally able to identify parasites, given that their presence indicates a medical situation. Only a medical professional is able to identify such organisms, as that identification acts as the diagnosis which determines what kind of treatment may or may not be needed for the person afflicted.
“I keep finding these worms in my bathroom,” writes Chase in his submission regarding the long, thin worm pictured below. “First two times I was in the shower, then by my sink. I see them only on the walls. What are they? I am in Arizona.” The photo is somewhat blurry, so we cannot make out the finer details of the worm’s physical characteristics, but based on what we can see, as well as the fact that it is climbing Chase’s walls, we think this could be a flatworm. Generally speaking, flatworms are predatory creatures. We say generally speaking because there are thousands upon thousands of flatworms species and a good portion of those are parasites. Not to worry, most flatworm parasites cannot survive outside the body of a host, so when someone finds a flatworm in the wild, 99% of the time they will be a predator.
Welcome to the next installment in the earthworm series. This is the second in a set of three, which aims to provide a brief overview of some of the most notable and often-discussed species of earthworms. If you have not read the first article, we covered the common earthworm and the tiger worm in that one. In this sequel, we will be looking at pheretima earthworms and the Asian jumping worm. These two species are pretty well-established in the helminthology world, though sources on the pheretima earthworm seem to provide conflicting accounts about their physical characteristics.
“What kind of bug is this?” is all Kimberly asks in her submission regarding the dark gray-brown-colored organism pictured below. She does not include any context with her submission, and we do have to note that the resolution on the photo is poor, meaning that when we zoom in on the creature, the details become incredibly blurry. With that in mind, it will not be possible to provide an identification which is 100% accurate; the identification we are about to make is based purely on an educated guess we made, which is, in turn, based on the little we can make out from the photo.
“Can you help me identify what this thing might be that I found on my bathroom counter?” asks Linda in her submission regarding the photo she sent in below. “Sincerely appreciate your time and effort.” We were not sure what she was referring to in the photo below. There are some black, hair-like objects, as well as a red, lint-like object in the photo. But since Linda refers to the “thing” in the singular, we are going to assume she means the red thing. In our opinion, this does not look like an organism, but just like a piece of lint, but that could be because the photo is so blurry that the details of the organism’s identifying features are muddled, making it look like a piece of lint. Regardless, since the photo is as blurry as it is, we will not be able to provide a confident or accurate identification.
“I’ve been stumped after finding this creepy bug in my bathroom”, writes Kristina in her submission regarding the stick-like object pictured below. “I realize this isn’t a worm, more like a walking stick. And they bite! Notice the strange head.” Now, we do not know which end of the organism is the head, as it is not clear just from the picture since the organism does look exactly like a stick. We also do not know which of the two twigs is meant to be the organism, though we would assume it is the thinner one since the bigger one clearly has a splintered end (which would not be possible if it was an organism). If it was not for Kristina telling us that this was a bug, we would not have been able to tell. We will do our best to help Kristina arrive at an identification, but we must say that we will not be able to provide an accurate or confident identification, given that we are not insect experts: we specialize in worms and worm-like critters.
“Can you help me identify what type of caterpillar this is?” asks Suzanne in her submission regarding the caterpillar pictured below. “I live in Fredericksburg, Virginia. And it was resting in a cottonwood tree. It measured about five inches long. Thank you!” Firstly, we have to compliment Suzanne on the gorgeous photo. The lighting, colors and detail are just incredible, and are very helpful to us in identifying this creature. Suzanne is absolutely right in identifying this as a caterpillar. Specifically, it is an ilia underwing moth caterpillar. Underwing moths are a genus of moth that is characterized by their colorful under wings which contrast the otherwise neutral or bland colors on their top wings.
“I’m based in the UK and found this in my bathroom”, writes Angela in her submission regarding the grayish, ovate creature pictured below. “I’ve found three so far and cannot find out what it is. My bathroom has a ledge away from the water source; one was found wiggling on the tiled ledge, and one was in an even more curious location: inside a clean container with some serialized items. The one pictured came from a plastic tray which I was cleaning out and, to be fair, this tray was quite dirty and had a pattern with ridges. It was about 4mm in length and didn’t appear to mind water. Is it a drain fly larva? I’ve posted how it moved on Reddit, linked below. Many thanks!” To start with, we have linked the video below that she posted on Reddit, and it is quite an interesting video. It looks like the organism is underwater, and yet the way it contracts its body and moves forward looks like it is dragging itself across a solid surface, rather than swimming.
“Is there a worm that can live off of fabrics as well as wooden structures?” asks this reader in his submission. “I’ve been seeing damage to wooden furniture as well as drywall and fabrics in our home. There’s also a dramatic increase in the quantity of dryer lint produced when I do laundry. Like I mean an extreme amount. Our clothing and bedding is riddled with holes and loose threads hanging down. There’s also strange markings on walls and ceilings (etc.) that I can’t explain. These weird fuzzy web looking things that appear to be growing out of the wall, I don’t know? Do we have some sort of house pest or is there something else contributing to these issues? I’ve been searching for answers and coming up empty. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”
“I found this guy in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada. What can I feed him?” writes this reader about the stick-like worm pictured below. At first, we did not see what our reader was referring to. We thought it was just one long branch. But then we noticed that the twig-like object on the right did not exactly match the rest of the branch, and does look like a separate entity. We think this is a stick caterpillar, which is a larva of the peppered moth. They are not the same things as stick insects, which are not worms or larvae of any kind, but a completely different species.
“I pulled this off my cat”, writes this reader in her submission regarding the brown, slimy-looking, worm-like creature pictured below. “Can you identify it?” For starters, we will say that, while we will provide an identification, it should not be taken as 100% accurate or certain. The primary reason for this is because our reader pulled it off our cat. Any worms that are found on or inside people or pets pose a potential medical situation. Since we are not medical professionals, we are neither qualified or legally able to identify organisms that directly affect the health of people or pets. In this case, it is not clear whether or not the worm is affecting the cat’s health: people and pets accidentally get worms on them all the time, just from going outdoors. For that reason, we err on the side of caution. If our reader suspects that this worm may have come from her cat, or that it is in any way negatively affecting her cat’s health, she should consult a vet about it and disregard our identification below.
“I have found these dead worm/snake-like critters on my patio and a few in my pool,” writes Hailey in her submission regarding the black and brown, worm-like creature pictured below. “There are around 20 of them and they are freaking me out. Any idea what it is? I’m in the Dallas/Fort Worth Texas area. Thank you.” Right off the bat, we can tell Hailey that this worm is dried up: you can tell by its shriveled body. The worms could have died another way but dried up afterward, but given what we know these to be, we think it is likely they died from the heat itself. Typically, we would not be able to identify worms that were dried-up, as their physical characteristics can change quite drastically, making them much harder to identify, but in this case, we have seen so many of these worms in this state that we know what they are.
“I live in southern Ontario and I noticed these little guys roaming around my apartment (see picture)”, writes Rachel in her submission regarding the tiny, black, worm-like creature pictured below. “Just wondering if I should be concerned. They seem to just crawl on my floor, the side of my mattress, and on my clothes. I’ve washed everything and swept and mopped the floors, but it’s tough to get them all. I’m just hoping they don’t turn into moths in a couple of weeks if I missed one. I’m pretty clean to begin with (as I live in a small studio) so I’m really puzzled where they came from. Thanks!”
“What is this little guy?” asks Valerie in her submission regarding the black, worm-like critter pictured below. “About 4-inches long, needle thin, in the muddy bank of a river in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.” To start with, we want to thank Valerie for the excellent photo and video she sent in. The video captures the sporadic, twisty movements of the worm, and the picture gives us a good sense of scale, showing us how long this worm really is. Based on this information, as well as the context Valerie provided, we think that she found a horsehair worm.
“I found this in my eye, like just near the lid,” writes Aryaman in his submission regarding the translucent, worm-like creature pictured below. “I think it fell in it or something. Not sure if it’s a bug even. Please check and help with some answers. Hope it’s nothing of concern.” In our opinion, this likely is some kind of larva that fell into his eye. It looks like it could be a fungus gnat larva or a flea larva (the two look very similar). We cannot promise that it is nothing of concern, as there is the possibility that this poses medical concerns. Since we are not medical professionals, we are not qualified or legally able to identify creatures which could be negatively affecting someone’s health, nor can we, in good faith, tell someone not to be worried about a creature in their eye. Even if the creature itself was relatively harmless, it might not bode well to it in one’s eye.
“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.
“Can you identify what kind of worm this is?” asks Amanda in her submission regarding the teeny tiny, brown worm-like critter pictured below. “This video was taken in our kitchen but we found one in our bed too. We live in Florida if that helps. Thank you!” Now, if it were not for the video that Amanda sent in, we would have no idea what this is. The picture is far too blurry to make out any of the tiny creature’s identifiable characteristics, other than its color and shape. But it was once we saw the video, which tells us how it moves and exposes more of its physical characteristics, that we were able to identify this as a millipede.
“I noticed these tiny, yellow worms in clusters on the tips of my daffodils (which have just started shooting from the bulb),” writes Desirée in her submission regarding the bright yellow organisms pictured below. “They look to have maybe newly hatched in the wet and seem to have been washed down the leaves when it rained, either into the plant or surrounding soil. Please see a close up of a cluster of the worms in a water drop. Could you please help with ID? I’m located in SE Victoria, Australia. Thanks for your help!” Now, although the pictures Desirée sent are quite blurry, we have arrived at an educated guess based on the context Desirée has provided. We think she has found daffodil fly larvae.
“What in the world are these little wormlike creatures?” asks Erin in her submission regarding the translucent organism with black entrails pictured below. “Here’s the story of how we found them: My partner and I enjoy herpetology and going “field herping” to search for and photograph reptiles in the wild. We recently visited Whitewater, California and stumbled upon a small California kingsnake (lampropeltis getula californiae) crossing the road. Upon picking it up to take a closer look, we saw these tiny black/transparent worms coming out of the snake’s mouth. It was honestly horrifying, so I can only hope that this animal is able to survive in the wild. Anyway, the worms appeared more like leeches or slugs – I don’t see any segmentation. We have a cheap little USB endoscope that magnifies at 1000x, so I have included close-up photos, as well as a zoomed-out photo next to a penny for scale reference. It appears to me that the black substance is food, waste, or organs inside of a transparent creature. We hope you can identify this species, and help us understand the super interesting interaction between fauna that we witnessed! Thanks so much.”