One of our readers recently wrote to us, “I found a creature in the room that I share with my sister. It is an orange bug with brown slits through its body. It doesn’t have any hairs and there is no touch of red coloring on the worm. What is this bug?” There was no accompanying photograph.
So, what specimen did our reader discover in her room? Well, without a photograph it is going to be nearly impossible to identify this creature. Though she did provide some description, her account of the organism’s appearance doesn’t exactly paint a full picture. We know the specimen is orange and that is has “brown slits” through its body. These “brown slits” could refer to brown stripes lining its body, or they might imply that the creature is segmented and that part of its body is brown. Our reader first uses the word “bug” to describe the specimen, but then later uses the word “worm.” This switch in word choice is very confusing since we often use the words “bug” and “worm” to describe creatures that look different. When something is described as a bug, it usually has legs and a round body, and possibly wings. A worm, on the other hand, is longer and thinner. Sometimes it has tiny legs, but often it has no legs and no wings. Of course, our reader’s perception of which organisms fall under either category might be different than our own. Needless to say, we aren’t sure what specimen our reader found in her room.
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Based on what we know, our best guess is that our reader has found a carpet beetle larva. Of course, this is merely a guess. Carpet beetle larvae are rust-colored or brown and have segmented bodies. However, they are usually covered in tiny bristle-like hairs, and our reader specifically pointed out that the creature she found had no hairs on it. So, this probably isn’t a match.
Without more information or a photograph, we can continue to guess organisms our reader might have found, but we won’t be able to provide an identification that we are confident about. If our reader is able to, we encourage her to send in a photograph of the specimen that we can use to identify it! If she can’t take a photo, then she can provide more details of the appearance of the mysterious creature. Does it have legs? If so, how many? Does it have wings? Does it have a distinct head or tail? Does it appear to walk, crawl, or slide? Where exactly in her room did she find it? With answers to some of these questions, we might have more luck identifying the specimen.
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