A reader wrote to us recently about “a light brown worm-like creature in the bath tub.” We are basically certain the worm-like creature is a larva (or actually larvae since he found several), so we’ll stick with that usage throughout. The larvae have only been found inside the bath, and they are only observed on occasion (i.e., not every day). The larvae are segmented, and they appear to have antennae and hair on their body. What is our reader finding in his bathtub?
First, here is the picture the reader submitted along with his question:
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Obviously, this image isn’t very clear, and we can’t make out most of the body features assigned to the creature by the reader, but we can at least tell that it is skinny and quite small. (The reader reported that it is no larger than a half inch, or 13 millimeters, and it looks quite a bit smaller than that to us.) Because the image is unclear, the reader drew a picture of the larvae, as observed under a magnifying glass.
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Despite the photo and drawing, it is difficult to state with any certainty what this creature is. However, the circumstances suggest that he likely found a moth fly larva, one of the most common creatures we write about. They are often found in bathrooms near sink, shower, and bathtub drains, so much so that moth flies are also called “drain flies.” They find sources of food in drains, and therefore tend to go after drains that are clogged. The only potential problem with this suggestion is that moth fly larvae often don’t look very much like what is pictured/drawn above. They tend to be more of whitish or even transparent color, not brown. On the other hand, basically all the other physical characteristics of the creature – its size, the hairs on its body etc. – match with those of a moth fly larva, so overall we think this is the most promising suggestion.
We can’t be 100 percent certain our reader found moth fly larvae, but it seems fairly likely in this instance. We recommend that our reader clean his bathtub and make sure to eliminate any clogs. This should take care of the problem.