A 1/2-inch worm was found in a glass of water by this man in Albuquerque, NM. From the excellent images sent in, we can see that the worm in question is of a grayish/tan color, is segmented, has six forelegs, eight back legs, and a bulbous black head.
First, we just want to emphasize how appreciative we are of the quality of these photos taken by our reader; they are really outstanding! Secondly, given the caterpillar’s minuscule size and generic appearance, we will unfortunately not be able to provide a specific identification of the caterpillar, which is a shame given how good the pictures are. That being said, since the creature has six pro-legs, it can be assumed that it will grow to be an insect (likely a butterfly or moth). Additionally the way it seems to move its body, raising its head and upper body before continuing to walk is very characteristic of caterpillars. But again, given its size, one will find that this caterpillar could really be the larval form of various species of butterfly or moth, and we are guessing that this one is underdeveloped.
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Furthermore, this caterpillar is difficult to identify as while its appearance is generic (its black head, six prolegs, and uniform color like so many other larvae), it is at the same time very different from a lot of larvae one will find. Many species of butterfly and moth that live in New Mexico tend to have bristles or fur, while this one does not, which makes identifying it that much harder, as we could not find any regionally specific matches. In addition to this, its very defined segmentation is something we have not seen elsewhere in other species of caterpillar, especially with each segment being so bulbous. Its location does not either provide us much context in terms of what creature it could be. While the odds of it are extremely low, because it was found in his glass of water we want to reassure our reader that the creature does not resemble any marine worms known to us, as well.
As identifying it has proven very difficult, we would recommend our reader puts two or three of the larva in a container with air holes and some food, and lets them grow. Obviously, this is in the case that our reader finds more of these larvae. As far as our reader has informed us, he only found the one larva. Nonetheless, we recommend this method because the more matured the larva is, the easier it becomes to identify it, as it will take on more distinctive features, especially if one successfully raises it into the moth or butterfly we assume this creature will turn into. Otherwise, simply moving the larva outside should suffice in ridding his home of any potential issues he may have with the caterpillar. It does not resemble the caterpillars of any common pest moths, like the Indianmeal moth, or the webbing clothes moth, and it definitely does not resemble any parasitic worms. Thus, we wish to assure our reader that he likely has nothing to worry about, but that this caterpillar simply wandered into his glass of water by mistake (perhaps it dropped from the ceiling?).
To conclude, the identity of the worm our reader found in his glass of water is inconclusive. However, we are fairly certain that it is some kind of caterpillar, given its six forelegs, generic black head, and the way it seems to contort its body to move in the images provided. We urge our reader to apply the aforementioned method of keeping a few of the caterpillars should he stumble upon more of them, and in that case, he is more than welcome to send more pictures our way once they have matured more!
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