“I found this thing in the bathroom!” writes Sade about the little black bug in the picture below. “Horrifying! It seemed to have fallen off somewhere – either from the toilet or the toilet paper hanging beside the toilet as I didn’t see it when I first opened the toilet, then noticed something plopped into the water a second after. I hope it didn’t come from me!” Upon zooming in on the photo, the organism looks to have legs, and a translucent body. That said, the photo is taken in quite poor lighting, and the resolution is not the best, so we will say that any identifications we make are educated guesses, and are not 100% certain.
Firstly, because of its translucent body, and the dark entrails one can see underneath its skin, this organism does slightly resemble a flea larva. Of course, if this is a flea larva, then those black appendage-looking things we see when zooming in will not be legs. Instead, they could be some hairs that have wrapped around the larva. This would make sense given that flea larvae will eat loose hair and fur, among other things. With that in mind, we should note that, while adult fleas do feed on the blood of mammals (the most common species feeding on dogs and cats but not humans), the larvae do not feed on blood. Instead they feed on organic debris and dead insects and larvae. Now, the only reason we doubt this would be a flea larva is due to the location in which it was discovered; because of their diet, most flea larvae are found in wardrobes or bedrooms, not in the bathroom. That said, people have found carpet beetle larvae (who have a similar diet to flea larvae) in bathrooms before, so it is not impossible.
Our second guess is that this is an adult insect of some kind. Given its thin legs, we thought of centipedes, though they have more appendages than the bug we see below. That said, since the quality of the photo is not the best, and the legs are so thin, it is possible that we cannot see all of the legs of the creature. Centipedes are not dangerous to humans, so Sade can safely move the bug outside without fear. Of course, we still recommend avoiding physical contact, cause even the smallest of centipede can pinch you with their pincers, and since we are not entirely confident about any of these identifications, it is still possible that this is some other type of organism that is actually harmful.
Now, Sade did also note that she hopes the organism did not come from her. If she has reasonable cause to believe that this creature did, in fact, come from her, or that it is negatively affecting her health in any way, she should disregard the identifications made above. Instead, she should seek the expertise of a medical professional, as only they are qualified and legally able to identify such an organism. What we can recommend is that Sade do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in her area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
2) Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
To conclude, we are not sure what this creature is. We would need better photos to be able to discern its identification with more confidence. Based on what we can see, we would say this looks like a flea larva or a centipede. Of course, if she thinks the organism came from her, then she should instead seek a diagnosis from a medical parasitologist. Although we could not provide a certain identification, we hope Sade took something helpful away from this article, and we wish her the very best!
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