We received a question via the All About Worms Facebook page about a mysterious black worm in what appears to be some sort of ice. The black worm is largely covered by the ice (or whatever it is), but its midsection appears to be above the surface. The reader was herself sent the photo of the worm, but she couldn’t identify it, so she passed it along to us. She said it looks like its “something from aliens,” and indeed it kind of does. What is this mysterious black worm covered in ice (or some substance that resembles ice)?
There are questions we can confidently answer, questions we can offer an informed opinion about, and questions that just totally stump us. Unfortunately, this is the last type of questions, as we lack too many crucial bits of information. We don’t know how big this creature is, nor do we know if it has any distinguishing characteristics (markings, body movements, etc.) Also, where was it found (outside or in the house, and in what state or country?), and were there more than one? And finally, once more, it is unclear what the substance that surrounds the creature is. All we are working with is this:
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This image is actually taken from a video that couldn’t be transmitted to us. It is one of two images sent to us. One was quite blurry and we could hardly tell we were looking at any sort of living creature, but the second image is enhanced, and it does appear to depict some sort of worm, or worm-like creature.
We say “worm-like creature” because it is far from clear this is a worm. It could very well be some sort of larvae, which we probably write about more often than worms. (It does not, however, appear to be any of the common larvae we write about, like carpet beetle larvae, moth fly larvae, or black soldier fly larvae.) If you look really closely, the end of the creature that is pointing upward might have small legs, which might mean it’s some sort of caterpillar (the larval form of a butterfly or moth). Caterpillars have three sets of legs near the front of their bodies, and perhaps that is what we are seeing. (They could also be dark spots in the substance that surrounds the creature, however.) It could also be a leech – this was our very first thought upon seeing the image – but we aren’t particularly confident in this suggestion. As for commonly-found creatures it does not appear to be, we’d mention centipedes and millipedes, both of which have many legs that would probably be visible in an image like this. (We are slightly less confident ruling out millipedes, as their legs, being tucked under their bodies, can sometimes be hard to see, but we’re reasonably sure the creature pictured above is not a millipede.)
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If we can’t identify what the reader sent us, why bother answering? First, we almost always try to answer reader questions, even if all we can saw is “we aren’t sure.” We can often at least narrow the range of possibilities, which we did to a limited extent in this case. Second, we have a global audience of readers who care about worms, and it isn’t uncommon for one of them to suggest a possibility in the comments below. So, in light of that, please let us know if you have any idea what this creature is. In time, we might just discern what the mystery black worm is.