“Does this look like a dog or cat parasite?” asks Lee about the oddly-shaped, brown, worm-like creature pictured below. “I found it on my bedroom rug. It’s about a 1/4-inch long and is unaffected by touch or heat.” Now, we have to say right off the bat that we will not be able to confirm or deny if this is a cat or dog parasite. The reason for this is because whenever parasites are involved, or even suspected of being involved, the situation becomes medical in nature. Since we are not medical professionals, we are not qualified or legally able to identify parasites, given the health risks they pose. Doing so would be tantamount to providing a diagnosis, which only a medical professional, in this case a vet, would be qualified to do.
“I went to take a bath before work and felt something moving on my knee”, writes this reader about the white, worm-like creatures pictured below. “I grabbed it, thinking nothing of it and it started squirming in my fingers. I found 11 of them in the water with me, and I clean my tub before every bath I take. My boyfriend later that night took a bath, and not a single sighting of one, and I extensively looked! It was small, short, and white with a brown head. Is it me who is infected or my water?” To begin with, we think our reader found some kind of insect larva in her tub, as that is what these most resemble. What species in particular is hard to say, as a white body with a dark head is about as generic a description as you can find of an insect larvae: beetles, moths, and flies all share larvae that fit this description.
“What are these?” is all Judah asks in his submission regarding the translucent worm-like creatures pictured below. The creatures seem to have black heads and a dark stripe on their bodies, which, given their translucent skin, appears to be their entrails. Even though Judah does not provide any context along with his photo, which is usually essential to us narrowing down a given creature’s possible identities, we are able to identify these critters based on their appearance. We think these are fungus gnat larvae.
“I found this worm, see attached image, when cleaning up a mess my dog made, poop,” writes Brandon in his submission regarding the teeny tiny worm-like critter pictured below. “It was mostly liquid and I’m not sure if it was in my dog’s faeces or if it was just nearby. I do not know what kind of worm or larva this is. Description: translucent, dark spots on both ends. About three sets of legs located near its head.” Based on Brandon’s description of the creature, as well as what we saw when we zoomed in on it, we think he has found himself a beetle larva.
“This was found in a pool in Boca Raton, Florida”, writes this reader about the long, black, worm-like creature pictured below. “What is it?” At first glance, given the length and color of the worm, we thought it might be a New Guinea flatworm: an invasive species of flatworm that was discovered in the United States not so long ago, in 2012. However, upon looking at the creature’s not-so-flat shape, and the way in which its body twists in a manner unlike that of a flatworm, we have concluded that this is not a worm at all, but a snake.
“I found this in my swimming pool in Mobile, Alabama and I’m wondering if it’s a leech?”, asks Dean in his submission regarding the glossy, black, worm-like creature pictured below. Right off the bat, we have to agree with Dean that this does look like a leech. That said, when we zoomed in on the photo, we saw what looked like part of the creature’s underside, which was a lighter gray color. This made us think about slugs, and the possibility of this being one, though leeches also typically have lighter-colored undersides.
“?Can you please identify this strange-looking worm?” asks Bryan about the odd-looking creature pictured below. “It’s approximately six-inches long, and if you zoom in it looks like it has eyes all over its body, very strange! I took this video in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina.” Well, Bryan might be surprised to know that those are indeed eyes all over the “body”, though it isn’t just one body, but many. This isn’t just one worm, it’s a moving pile of them, kind of. They’re not technically worms, but larvae: specifically, fungus gnat larvae.
“These began popping up all over my elderly mom’s basement apartment in the last few days”, writes RK about the black, worm-like creature pictured below. “We have seen a couple dozen or so to date. They seem to be hatching from somewhere inside although we can’t figure out where. They are darker colored and appear segmented, but no legs or wings are visible. We have seen sizes from less than an inch to an inch or two. The basement recently underwent renovation so I don’t know if something could have been brought in that way or not. Could you provide information regarding what they may be? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”
“My mother lives in northern Michigan and her garage has become infested with (what she has been told are) black worms”, writes John about the pile of what does look like black worms. “I have included two pictures. For the past two weeks, she has been clearing the worms out of her garage at least three times per day. Each time, she is able to fill 1-2 dustpans full of the worms. They are located primarily along the walls of the garage. Can you please let me know what these worms are exactly? And, can you let me know how I can help my mom get rid of the worms (and prevent them from coming back)? Thank you!”
“I’ve recycled coffee grounds for years,” writes Mikey about the white worm-like creature pictured below. “I’ve just started seeing the worms or larvae in the past couple of weeks, we live in northern CA, near Auburn. The coffee is Folgers and Don Francesco (I think). Anyway, the pictures I’m sending are from this morning. The grounds were dumped in the bucket last night and, well, you can see. Any thoughts? Are we consuming bugs in our coffee?” Firstly, we just want to sympathize with Mikey: we can’t imagine how unnerving it must be to find a worm in your coffee one day. Secondly, we do have thoughts on this. We think Mikey found a pantry moth caterpillar in his coffee grounds.
“What kind of worm is this?”, asks Elvira about the black worm-like creature pictured below. “Or is it a caterpillar? Found it moving across the rug in my living room! It had a matte black-like shell with what appeared to be ‘holes’ along its back, was about 2-3 inches long, and its head had two oval-shaped eyes on top of it. I live in Houston, TX. Thanks.” The creature Elvira found is not a worm, but indeed a caterpillar, so her second guess was correct! In particular, this is a velvet armyworm moth caterpillar. We have covered armyworms many times before, in particular the fall armyworm, the most infamous of them all.
“Are you able to identify these?” is all Carol asks in her submission regarding the beautiful, black worm-like critters pictured below. This is definitely one of the best photos we have received in a while. It captures in such detail the unique appearance of these creatures: their pattern of white polka dots and yellow markings, the long red stripe that runs the length of its back, and the horn sticking out from the rear end of its body. Typically, it is still difficult to identify some organisms without more context, even if the photo is good, but this photo is so clear that we managed to identify these guys with no context. These are leafy spurge hawk moth caterpillars!
“I found this in my backyard the other night while digging up roots”, writes Marlene about the milky-white, worm-like creature pictured below. “I have never seen anything like this before, and it is quite ugly. It was about three inches long, rather chubby, and black on one end, with what looked like purple veins going through it. I live in southern New Jersey (Gloucester County). There are no lakes or ponds close to my yard. Just curious about what is living in my yard and possibly creating a family. Thank you.” Well, based on the excellent photo that Marlene sent in, we think that the “ugly” worm-like critter she found is a wood-boring beetle larva.
“Yesterday I found this little semi-transparent whitish worm with a darker end just outside of my bathtub”, writes Christina about the worm-like organism pictured below. “Today, I found two more in the tub and one on the ledge. I have no idea where they’re coming from but it’s hard to believe it’s from the drain because they are terrible at walking and climbing. They start to climb up and just roll down when the walls get too steep. They are small (about 2-3mm). I haven’t found them anywhere else inside or outside the house and there are no flying insects that I’m aware of. I live in Southeast Lower Michigan.”
“Please help me identify these”, writes Erin about the white, worm-like critters pictured below. “I was doing my weekly sweep and hand mop and found a bunch of these in the dining room by the window. I don’t see any place of entry and I do not know what they are. They have fat little bodies and a reddish brown face. They were all around my table on the floor, over a dozen.” Firstly, we just want to express our empathy with Erin: it really is an unpleasant surprise when you find creatures in your home that were not invited. Secondly, we want to thank her for the great photo she sent in. It really helps us narrow down the possible identifications.
Michelle writes to us her daughter found a caterpillar-like creature (pictured below) on her leg when walking home from the library. “She did go into one of her friend’s yards and knocked on their door: they weren’t home so she continued to walk home via the road. She didn’t go into any bushy or forested areas on the way home but found this little caterpillar thing crawling on her leg. So, we wanted to identify it and find out what kind of caterpillar or larvae it is. We did notice that it created a silk or web-like substance.” Based on the photo, we agree that this looks like a caterpillar. Unfortunately, the lighting in the photo makes it hard to see what color the caterpillar really is: we think it looks yellow, but that could also be the lighting. It could very well be a light green or gray color.
“What kind of caterpillar is this?” asks Heather about the pink caterpillar-like creature pictured below. “When I saw it I Googled ‘Is there such a thing as a pink caterpillar?’ and your website came up with the article about the lady in Arizona. After reading that article I don’t think my pink caterpillar is the same kind as hers, as I live in Missouri and this one was found in a wooded area. So, can you tell me what kind it is? I thought my son was kidding when he told me to come look at a pink caterpillar. Please identify it for me? Thank you!” To begin with, we want to commend Heather’s son for his discovery and his curiosity – you don’t see a pink caterpillar every day. We also want to thank Heather for the fantastic photos and videos she sent in, two of which we included here.
“These tiny worm/caterpillar critters have been out on the patio the past few weeks”, writes Debbie about the fantastical-looking, worm-like creature pictured below. “The one in the attached photos is a larger one, which is still small (I have my pinky in one of the photos for reference). It crawls around like a caterpillar and can raise — what I’m guessing is — it’s head to investigate where there’s something in its path. I’ve lived in this particular home for six years and this is the first time I’ve seen them. I’d like to find out what they are in case they’re a problem or poisonous. I live in Ventura County California, approx 2 miles away from the coast. Thanks for your help!”
“I found these in my horse trough”, writes Karen about the red worm-like critters pictured below. “They seem to have ‘casings’ of some sort that seem to be ‘absorbed’ by the plastic/rubber trough itself. There are strange “scratch lines” on the side of the trough, and these lines I have noticed elsewhere in my barn. Is it a pinworm? Can pinworms be transmitted through different types of materials? Please, tell me everything. I am in Stafford, Virginia, and these worms were in water. It is October, and the weather has been pleasant. There was recently a huge amount of rain with Hurricane Ian. Can these worms get into wood? Is this the larval stage of something else? Thank you!”
I found this kind of worm on my bed”, writes Heeae about the white, translucent worm pictured below. “I don’t put sheets on my bed, only plastic to cover it. At first, I thought it was from my food, but after I thoroughly inspected it, I couldn’t find any other worms. I cleaned my bed and the surroundings, and almost forgot about it. Then, today the worm was there again. It’s so tiny, less than 1cm (0.4-inches), a little bit transparent. I’m so scared that if I went to sleep, it would be on my body. And I’m in Indonesia.” Our first instinct would be to identify this as a clothes pest, but Heeae seems to refute this possibility, stating clearly that she does not use sheets on her bed. That still has us wondering if she does not have a duvet or pillows, because those types of materials would also attract clothes pests.