A reader recently sent us some photographs and a short message. He explained that he discovered a worm-like organism in his shower for the third time. The creature is about 1 cm long, semitransparent with a reddish hue and black spots in it. He wants to know if it is a parasitic worm that came from his body, or if it came from his shower. Here is the first photo:
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When readers discover red worms in their shower, they are almost always dealing with either bloodworms or earthworms. While both bloodworms and earthworms can be red, other than their coloring they tend to look quite different. Bloodworms are usually a brighter red due to the hemoglobin (a red protein) in their bodies. They are also typically smaller than earthworms. Earthworms tend to be more purple or brown, and can be recognized by their clitellum, which is a raised band on their bodies that contains reproductive organs. Let’s take a closer look at the specimen our reader discovered:
We are confident that this is a bloodworm, a.k.a. a midge fly larva. Like most larvae, bloodworms feed on organic matter. They are usually found in moist environments, such as wet sand. They are poor swimmers but excellent burrowers, and unlike earthworms they can tolerate water with poor oxygen levels. If our reader has been finding these in his shower, then there is probably some organic build up in the drain that the larvae are feeding on. We recommend that he clean out his shower and the drain using a cleaning agent that is designed to destroy organic material. Fortunately, bloodworms aren’t known to transmit any human diseases.
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To conclude, one of our readers discovered a red worm-like organism in his shower. We believe it is a bloodworm, not a parasite like he originally suspected. Of course, if he is concerned about his health we encourage him to see a doctor because we are not medical professionals and are not licensed to give medical advice.