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Posted in Caterpillars Garden Worms Inch Worms

Black-headed Worm-like Critters Swarming Fireplace are Inchworms

“What worm is this?”, asks this reader about the small, black-headed organism pictured below. “I live in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and I just found these little worms all over my fireplace. I’ve never seen them before. Some were inching along but there were also a number of them hanging from the fireplace from very thin threads (so thin I couldn’t see them).” Now, the key phrase here is “inching”, as that describes pretty well the creature we believe our reader is dealing with: an inchworm. Why they are called inchworms is because of the exact motion that our reader describes; they pull their bodies across a surface using legs located at the front and back of their bodies, thus forcing them to arch the middle of their bodies (which does not have any legs) and ‘inch’ forward. Likewise, they are able to generate a silk-like string from which they can quickly eject and hang on to as they jump off a surface, which is a defense mechanism they use to get away from predators.