A reader recently sent us a photo of some sort of white and yellow larva, or perhaps a whitish, yellowish larva is the better way to put it because the colors basically blend together. The reader said the larvae “moves like a caterpillar,” and she said it doesn’t look like a worm or slug, and all of this contributes to our belief that our reader found a type of larva. (Caterpillars are larvae, for the record.) The reader found the creature on her leg when she was out walking and she can’t seem to find out any information about it. Technically, the reader didn’t ask any question, but we presume she wants to know what the white and yellow larva she found is, so this is what we have directed our attention toward.
First, here is a picture of the creature our reader sent in:
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We blew up the image size a bit so that you can see the larva better, even though this makes is slightly blurry. As you can see, the larva appears to have something inside of it, or has some sort of dark interior, which is common enough with larvae, whose intestine and inner bodies cavities can often be seen from the outside. (These insides can be colored by what the larvae eat.) We have written about small white larvae with black insides before, and unfortunately we couldn’t offer a conclusive answer in that case, and we can’t offer a conclusive answer in this instance either. Identifying larvae is extremely difficult because of the enormous number of organisms that go through a larval stage of development. What’s more, so many larvae look similar. There are about a quarter of a million species in the order Diptera, which includes insects like flies and mosquitoes, and many of the larvae look the same. Consider how similar the various species of maggots look, which are the larval form of flies in the Brachycera suborder.
Thus, we simply don’t have enough information to precisely identify what our reader found, and this is in spite of the good photo she sent in. The reader mentioned that she was outside when she found the creature, so we can’t even limit our suggestions to common household pests. The reader specifically mentioned caterpillars, which are the larval form of butterflies and moths, but generally caterpillars have more distinct body features and are more elaborately colored, and in any case it isn’t easy to identify caterpillars, as there are tens of thousands of species of caterpillar in the world. If we had to offer some hypothesis, we’d say our reader found some sort of fly larva (potentially a maggot) because of its white and yellow body, but we can’t say any more than that.
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