“Just wondering what type of worm(s) these are?” asks this reader, who took this picture “from the end of [his] sewer cable whilst clearing an underground sewer […] at a house”. The worms he refers to are all writhing over each other in one big mass: they are purple in color, seemingly long and thin, and slimy-looking.
Our reader warns us that the picture “may make some a little queasy”, which we can definitely see happening. Fortunately though, we have received our fair share of pictures that we have had to give viewer discretion warnings for, so we were more than prepared for this image. That said, we do apologize to any of our other readers who may have cringed at the sight of this mass of worms.
All of that aside, the organisms that our reader found are tubifex worms. Tubifex worms are a type of bloodworm, which is an umbrella term for any worm that is red in color due to an excess production of a hemoglobin-type molecule. This phenomenon allows them to stay underwater for extended periods of time. Despite their macabre name, bloodworms are harmless.
Tubifex worms, commonly known as sewage worms or sludge worms, live in sewage systems, ponds, and other places ridden with decomposing organic matter (which is what makes up the bulk of their diet). So, it makes sense that our reader found these worms while cleaning out a sewer. “The back part of the line had been clogged for almost two years, as they just used the front bathroom,” he adds.
In addition to this piece of context, it was this picture that convinced us that these are tubifex worms. They are distinguished by their tendency to wrap themselves around each other and form the kind of mass we can see in the picture above. According to our reader, he “had to remove them and run the cable several more times, getting more each time.”
We advise that our reader move the worms to a pond or some other body of water that is rich in algae or lichen, as they will also thrive there.
To conclude, the mass of worms our reader found while cleaning out a sewage system is a group of tubifex worms. They are not harmful to humans, so he does not need to worry on that front. We hope this article proves insightful, and we wish him the best!