We received an interesting question from a reader recently about a brown worm or larvae that is half encased, by which we mean one end of the creature’s body is covered in some sort shell, cocoon, or other encasing, and the other end isn’t covered at all. (The picture below shows what we mean.) The worm or larvae appears to be in a middle state, as half of its body moves and wriggles around when touched, and the other half is wrapped up, seemingly prepared for a period of dormancy. The reader first found the worms next to a plant inside, but he also saw them when he was cleaning out his gutter, so evidently they are fairly common, at least in whatever part of the world our reader lives. What might these fat, brown, and partially encased worms or larvae be?
A reader recently sent us a photo of a short, fat brown worm via the All About Worms Facebook page. He asked one simple question: “what kind of worm is this?” Given some of the complex and convoluted questions we receive, we welcomed this beautifully straightforward message. We are tasked with one question – what is the short, fat brown worm that our reader found? – and were sent an excellent photo of the worm under consideration, making our job as easy as it could be.
On a recent morning, a reader found three white worms in different parts of her house. The white worms, which are actually not entirely white worms because they have some brown coloration on them, is about three quarters of an inch (or 20 millimeters) long. The worm is also “fat,” according to the reader, and has a big, round head. Finally, the worm’s body appears to be segmented and it has what look like “small pinchers” on its posterior end. So, the reader is dealing with a fat, white worm (plus some brown coloration) with a big head, a segmented body, and small pinchers, and her find has left her “so creeped out.” What might this fat, white worm be? Is it even a worm, or might it be a larva (or rather, larvae, since our reader found three)?
We received an interesting, if somewhat vague, question from a reader about a brown worm he found in the garden. The worm was described as not only “brown,” but also “fat.” The fat, brown worm is about two inches (five centimeters) long, and its body dimensions resemble that of the “tomato hook worm,” by which we are fairly sure our reader meant “tomato hornworm,” the larval form of a moth (Manduca sexta), making the tomato hornworm a caterpillar. Speaking of caterpillars, it is possible our reader found a fat, brown caterpillar, as opposed to a fat, brown worm, so that is something to keep in mind as we consider some possibilities for what our reader might have found in this garden.
There are two types of worm questions we receive: those that deal with strange worms that people find, and those that deal with strange worms that people find that are compromising some aspect of their life, generally their gardening activities. Our most recent reader question is of the latter variety, with a reader writing in about “fat healthy black 4-5 inch [or 10-13 centimeter] worms” that are “eating up [her] four o’clocks.” (A four o’clock, or Mirabilis jalapa, is a type of colorful and fragrant flower, for the record.) This seems straightforward enough, except that the worms our reader found have gold “lettering” on their backs that resemble the characters of Asian languages. The soft ball we thought we had been pitched ended up taking a late break, and everyone knows that a late-breaking curve ball is particularly hard to hit. Of course, our reader was wondering what these fat, black worms might be, and so we will do our best to provide her with an answer.