Earlier this month we heard from a reader who discovered a worm-like organism on his coffee pot lid. His question is one that we hear often, “What is this?” In addition to informing us where the specimen was found, he included two photographs that clearly display what the creature looks like. Here are the pictures:
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We can see from the photographs that the specimen is pink with black markings. While the colors of an organism are usually very useful while identifying it, in this case we think the second photo is more helpful. In the second picture, the creature is moving across the lid of the coffee pot. This particular movement pattern is specific to a certain specimen we know well… This is an inchworm!
An inchworm is another way to describe the caterpillar (or larvae) of moths that belong to the Geometer family. Inchworms are also known as loopers, spanworms, cankerworms, or measuring worms. They are named for the way they “measure the earth” as they walk. Inchworms have legs at the front and rear ends of their bodies, but none in the middle. To move forward they clasp with their front legs, bring their hind legs forward, clasp with their hind legs, and then reach forward to clasp a new object with their front legs. This movement pattern is characteristic of these caterpillar and is how we identified this specimen!
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We don’t know what species of inchworm our reader is dealing with. There are over 20,000 different species of geometer moths. Inchworms are often grey, green, or brown, but they can vary a lot in color! Different species of inchworms can also have different body texture and markings.
To wrap up, one of our readers found a pink worm-like organism on his coffee pot. We believe the specimen is an inchworm!