A worried reader wrote to us about a creature that she found in her toilet. She describes it as being quite small, perhaps 2 cm (<1/10”) in length. She notes that it was moving around when she saw it. She asks if it is a drain fly larva, or perhaps a pin worm. She has included a picture, which shows that it is a very small creature, indeed.
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We suspect that her main concern is a worry that this creature came from the body in someone of her household. The good news is that we do not think that it did. However, we cannot completely rule that out. Here at All About Worms, we are not medical doctors and have no medical training. We do not think that this came from a human. This is because we do not know of any parasitic worms that infect humans that look like this. However, it would be foolhardy to assume that we know what all human-infecting parasitic worms look like.
We believe that she is correct, and that this is the larva of one of the species often referred to as a “drain worm” (though those animals are actually larvae, not worms). Her sample bears more than a passing resemblance to the moth fly larva, which are quite commonly found in drains and toilets. To us, this seems like the most likely candidate. These larvae feed on the organic material that builds up on pipes, so the easiest way for our reader to control them is to scrub her pipes with a very thick brush. In fact, she can use the same techniques we recommend for the common drain fly larva.
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This also looks a bit like a fungus gnat larva. There are over 2,000 species of flies called fungus gnats, and their larvae differ in appearance from species to species. Our reader’s picture reminds us the most of the larva of the darkwinged fungus gnat (Bradysia spp.). However, fungus gnat larvae are more commonly found in houseplants, so this seems like a less likely candidate than the moth fly larva.
Either way, we do not believe that our reader has anything to worry about. Though it is unpleasant to find such creatures in the toilet, they cannot harm us. If she is concerned that she or anyone else may be ill, we are sure that a visit to the doctor will help.