Recently, we heard from a reader from Bellingham, Washington. She was tending to her indoor rosemary plant when she noticed a specimen crawling on it. She described the creature-in-question as: “brown, skinny, and long (but not horsehair worm long).” She was too freaked out by its presence to take a photograph of it. Instead, she scooped it up and flushed it down the toilet. So what kind of worm did she find? And is it harmless?
Sadly, without a picture we cannot identify the creature our reader discovered on her rosemary plant. There are numerous worms or worm-like organisms that fit the description of brown, skinny, and long.
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Although she said the specimen wasn’t “horsehair worm long,” it is still possible that she found a young horsehair worm. Horsehair worms are parasitic to arthropods, but are harmless towards mammals and humans. They infect their insect host, and then when they sense they are close to water they eject themselves out of the host and into the water. If our reader did indeed find a horsehair worm, maybe it sensed the moisture of the potted plant and ejected itself.
She also may have found a flatworm or an earthworm (or another specimen entirely). The “brown, skinny, and long” description is applicable to both of these creatures. Flatworms are often lustrous in appearance, and there are both aquatic and terrestrial species. Terrestrial flatworms are sometimes confused with leeches. If the creature our reader looks relatively similar to a leech, it could be a flatworm. Earthworms can be brown (or purple/pink) and are segmented worms that live in moist soil, working as decomposers. The picture featured with this article is an earthworm, so our reader can determine if it is a match to what she discovered on her plant.
To wrap up, a reader found a “brown, skinny, and long” organism on her indoor rosemary plant. Without knowing the species our reader found, we cannot define it as harmless or not harmless. If our reader spots this creature again, we encourage her to get a photograph of it and send it in to be analyzed.
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