One of our readers grows strawberries on the ground in her yard. Recently, she found a cluster of worms inside one of the strawberries. This is the first time this has happened, and while she is curious about what kind of worm this is, she is more eager to learn if these worms are dangerous if consumed by humans or animals. She has dogs and cats and she isn’t sure if this is a cause for concern.
She sent us a photograph of the strawberry with the cluster of worms in it, but it isn’t great quality. Luckily, she also provided a great description of the worms. She said they are several centimeters long and the width of uncooked angel hair pasta. They are dark brown with a white streak on their underside and they have a smooth body texture. Finally, she said that the body is similar to a leech, but it has a very obvious mouth.
There are a long list of potential creatures that eat strawberry plants. Most of these creatures are insects that don’t match the description. Many of them are beetles, which have a larval form that would resemble a worm. However, these beetle larvae are mostly white, and the ones that are darker colored and have such a different body shape and texture than what our reader described. There are also a handful of caterpillars that have a dark body with a white stripe, but the creatures found are too thin to be caterpillars.
We believe it is more likely that this is a cluster of tiny land planarians, or flatworms, that are enjoying our reader’s strawberry. The description that our reader provided of a “smooth body” matches that of a flatworm, and the size is also a match. There are thousands of species of both land planarians and aquatic planarians. We do not think it is likely that our readers pets will become ill if they accidentally consume a flatworm, but we are not medical professionals and our reader should visit the vet with her pets if she is concerned about the health of her animals.
To sum up, a reader found a cluster of tiny dark worms in a strawberry in her garden. We aren’t sure exactly what they are, but we think they are likely terrestrial flatworms.