Unfamiliar Gray Worm Found Decomposing and Oozing Goo

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“Have you ever seen one of these?” asks this reader in Florida about the gray worm pictured below. “It was quickly decomposing and it had goo outside that was melting away”, he adds.

To answer our reader’s question, we have not seen one of these before. At least, not to our knowledge. If we were not aware that this was an organism, we would have said it was a piece of lint or dust. The creature appears to be segmented into two oblong shapes, both of which are textured with what looks to be bristles, or perhaps even legs. However, it is possible that the creature did not originally appear like this. Given that it had been “decomposing” before our reader snapped this photo, it could have looked completely different in a prior state.

Unfortunately, because of this, we will not be able to identify the creature. Perhaps if our reader had provided more context, we would have been able to give a more concrete answer. For example, it would have been helpful to know where it was found, and under what circumstances.

All we can estimate is that this might have been a larva that was attacked by a predator, likely a hammerhead flatworm (as they have the ability to disintegrate their prey with a unique secretion that then allows them to literally drink their food: this would have spawned the so-called “goo” our reader describes).

It is a good thing that our reader wears protective gloves when handling the worm. Not only is this a recommended precautionary measure when handling any worm-like organism that is unfamiliar (because who knows what types of things they can secrete, or if they bite), but it is especially important in this circumstance, as the “goo” our reader mentioned could very well be poisonous. If this was indeed the victim of a hammerhead worm, then we would guess that the aforementioned “goo” is either the creature’s melting body, or leftover secretion from the hammerhead worm. In the latter case, if our reader had touched the goo with his bare hands, it may have caused stinging.

If our reader would like a second opinion, we advise that he take this worm to his local county extension office. There, someone will be able to physically examine the organism, which will give them a better chance to identify the creature. If our reader does this, he may also want to give them more context.

To conclude, we do not know what it is that our reader found. It is a good thing that he used protective gloves, and we recommend that all our readers do this if and when handling unfamiliar worms. We hope that this article helps, despite not providing any concrete answers, and we wish him the very best.

Note: All About Worms is completely free, and reader-supported. If something that you find here helps you, please consider supporting us.
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Summary
Unfamiliar Gray Worm Found Decomposing and Oozing Goo
Article Name
Unfamiliar Gray Worm Found Decomposing and Oozing Goo
Description
"Have you ever seen one of these?" asks this reader in Florida about the gray worm pictured below. "It was quickly decomposing and it had goo outside that was melting away", he adds.
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Author: Worm Researcher Anton

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