“I’ve seen these worms the last two mornings on my kitchen floor next to my rabbit cage”, writes Matthew about the curious creature pictured below. “Can you identify them? They’re TINY, with a half white, half black body.” First of all, thank you for the excellent photograph Matthew: we see exactly what you mean by the worm’s half white, half black body, and this is something we haven’t quite seen before. The thinner, white part resembles that of a generic insect larva (many of them being a similar, translucent white color), while the thicker, black part looks almost like a shell encasing the lower half of the worm.
To be honest, we are not quite sure what this is. Is it an insect larva that has made a case for itself, like the casemaking clothes moth caterpillar (though their cases tend to be white, as they spin the silk-like material themselves). Is it an insect that is preparing for pupation, thus creating a chrysalis around its body? Or is this thicker part simply a part of the larva’s body? Now, when we take into account that this was found near a rabbit cage, we suppose it could be a flea larva. It would have really helped to have a photo of the rabbit, or at least a description of the color of its fur. We are thinking this might be a flea larva that is entangled in some rabbit fur.
Luckily, flea larvae, unlike their adult counterparts, do not actually feed on animal blood. They feed on organic debris, like faeces, dead skin, dead insects, and fur (which is exactly why this larva would be dragging fur around with it). However, unfortunately, the presence of the larvae often indicates the presence of the adult insect. With that in mind, we recommend that Matthew check his rabbits for fleas. If he does not find any, then it is still possible that these are flea larvae (they can enter the home through other means), but it is equally possible that these creatures are something else.
On second thought, given that Matthew found multiple of these, all of which were half white, half black, we find it unlikely that they are all flea larvae dragging around equally large lumps of rabbit fur. Besides, this is not typical behaviour for flea larvae. This is more typical of casemaking clothes moth caterpillars: perhaps they are munching on the rabbit fur, or using it to spin the silken tubes for themselves that they are known for. Casemaking clothes moth caterpillars are not harmful to humans or pets, though they can cause infestation. To eliminate and control the infestation, Matthew needs to thoroughly vacuum his home, and launder any potentially-infested items (specifically organic-based materials like silk sheets and cotton T-shirts).
In conclusion, we are not entirely sure what it is that Matthew found, though, given the context, it is possible that they are either flea larvae or casemaking clothes moth caterpillars. We are leaning more toward the latter possibility. Despite not landing on one identification, we hope this helps, and we wish Matthew the best.
All About Worms is always free, always reader-supported. Your tips via CashApp, Venmo, or Paypal are appreciated! Receipts will come from ISIPP Publishing.