A reader from South Florida just requested some information about the creatures in a photo she sent us. She thinks they are leeches, but would like us to confirm.
The photo shows two black worms that are smooth and shiny. We don’t see any obvious appendages, like legs or antenna.
There is a strong possibility that our reader has found leeches. Leeches are often black, and sometimes have a lighter underside. If our reader wanted to confirm this identification, she could flip the specimen over to examine its underside. Leeches move by expanding and contracting, in a similar style to earthworms. Most leeches live in aquatic environments. Our reader didn’t mention where she discovered these two creatures, but if she found them in or near water it is likely they are leeches. Leeches are not harmful to humans as long as they are not physically attached to the skin.
We think it is a definite possibility that these are leeches, but we would also like to offer another idea. Although readers commonly discover leeches, we believe that the creatures in the photos our reader sent resemble another organism known as terrestrial flatworms more closely. If our reader didn’t find these creatures near water, then it might be more likely that she found terrestrial flatworms rather than leeches. Gardeners might find flatworms under stones, especially during a wet season. Since there are so many species of flatworms, it is difficult to say which species our readers belong to (that is if they actually are flatworms because they might be leeches).
In conclusion, despite the great photos our reader sent us, we aren’t able to decide weather the creatures she discovered are leeches or flatworms, but we do believe they are one of those two options. We suggest she compares the creatures with other photos of both of these to get a better idea.