Red Transparent Worm is Rat-tailed Maggot

We recently heard from a reader who discovered a “red transparent worm” moving on her toilet bowl wall. She explained that she didn’t know what kind of creature it could be, but that it moves like a worm. She asked us to help her identify the organism. Here is a photograph of the specimen in question:

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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Red Transparent Worm in Rat-tailed Maggot
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Red Transparent Worm in Rat-tailed Maggot
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.

Author: Worm Researcher Dori

1 thought on “Red Transparent Worm is Rat-tailed Maggot

  1. Did you consider that it could have been a parasitic worm? I did a Google image search for “rat-tailed maggot” and it showed a large bulge at the tail end. The one in these photos has no bulge that I can see. Are you 100% sure it isn’t a pin worm or any other type of parasitic worm that can live in the human intestine?

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