We received a question from a reader a few days ago about a “worm on my tile floor near the front door.” He sent a picture of the worm by the front door, but it is slightly out of focus, so it is hard to see. The worm appears to have antennae, which means he isn’t finding a worm, but some sort of worm-like creature, perhaps a centipede or millipede. Below we explore these possibilities in more depth.
First, here is the image the reader submitted along with his question:
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Obviously, and as we said above, this isn’t the clearest picture. However, it clearly depicts some sort of worm-like creature, and essentially the only notable body feature we can make out appears to be antennae. And if these are antennae, this creature has the body dimensions of a centipede or millipede. Coincidentally, we’ve written about these creatures a couple of times recently, first in connection to some intricate tree damage, and another time in connection to a coffee maker. The reader should check out these links for pictures similar to the one above.
In both of these articles, we suspected our reader was dealing with a centipede, although in either case millipedes were a live option because the creatures are similar. (They are both arthropods belonging to the Myriapoda subphylum.) There are features that distinguish the two creatures, and what is strange about the creature above is that it appears to straddle the categories. Centipedes have long, clearly visible antennae, for example, whereas millipedes do not, and the creature above seems to have the antennae of a centipede. However, the many legs of centipedes are also quite visible, extending beyond their body in a way that makes them hard to miss. Millipedes also have lots of legs, but they are often much harder to see, and in fact from an aerial view they can be essentially invisible. Once more, the picture above is blurry, so we don’t expect to discern much level of detail, but if the creature above is a centipede, we would expect to see its legs.
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So, whatever our reader found has the antennae of a centipede and the legs of a millipede. However, the general distinguishing characteristics we are describing aren’t categorical differences between the two types of arthropods. Some millipedes have longish antennae, and some centipedes’ legs don’t extend very far from their bodies. Thus, the creature could be either a centipede or a millipede, and we don’t really have a reason to back one suggestion over the other.
It could also be neither creature. All we have to work with is a blurry image, so we aren’t exactly working with the full set of facts. However, a long, cylindrical creature with antennae found on the floor of a house sounds like one of these two creatures. It probably crawled into the house when the door was open, or perhaps the door isn’t sealed very well around the edges. The reader should just take it outside to get rid of it, and he might check to see if his door/door frame has any obvious gaps in it that would allow a bug to easily crawl in.