The specimen appears to be quite tiny (although we can’t say for sure how big or small it is because there is nothing to use for a size comparison in the photo). The specimen is indeed a red tinted color, transparent, and has a long tail-like appendage extending from the posterior end of its bean-shaped body. We recognize this specimen as a rat-tailed maggot, which is an organism that we just wrote about earlier today!
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Rat-tailed maggots are the larvae of certain species of hoverflies. Their most recognizable physical characteristic is their tail-like appendage. It is actually a tube-like breathing siphon that acts as a snorkel and allows the larvae to breathe while submerged while underwater. These maggots live in stagnant water that is oxygen-deprived and preferably full of organic content. As you can imagine, a toilet bowl full of water is a suitable home for a rat-tailed maggot.
While it can be unsettling to find any organism in your toilet, these maggots are totally harmless. If our reader discovered a rat-tailed maggot in her toilet bowl, it simply means she needs to give her toilet bowl a proper cleaning. She should scrub it down with a cleaning agent designed to kill organic matter, which will eliminate the food source for these larvae. Since she only found one of these organisms, she can also simply remove it by hand.
To wrap up, one of our readers found a “red transparent worm” swimming in her toilet bowl. We believe this a rat-tailed maggot, which is the larva of a hoverfly.
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