We received an interesting question from a reader through the All About Worms Facebook page about a “greenish grey worm” that his cat found on his lawn. The worm (or probably larva) is “2-3 inches long and had rings around it so he looked like a bunch of inter-tubes stacked on each other.” However, the defining characteristic of the creature is that it made noise. The reader was wondering what kind of worm or larva he (or technically his cat) found.
The reader indicated that he struggled to find any information about the creature he found, and basically the only thing he turned up was a YouTube video of a worm that makes weird noises. The reader indicated that the noises made by the creature in this video were like the noises made by whatever he found, but it isn’t clear if he thinks the creature in the video is the same kind of thing that he found. We’ll have to assume it is, though, because in addition to the similar noises, the creature in the video seems to match the reader’s physical description, at least in outline. (It’s a worm-like creature with a segmented body that was found in the grass.)
We certainly sympathize with our reader’s almost fruitless search for information because we too have struggled to find out much of anything about what our reader found. The creature in the video looks like a grub worm, which are actually beetle larva, and a lawn is exactly the type of place one would expect to find a grub worm, but we can’t find much about what noise, if any, grub worms might make. We know that they make noise when they eat – this is documented in this old newspaper clipping detailing an advertising agency’s quest to record the sound of grub worms eating for an insecticide commercial – but we can’t find anything to suggest that grub worms make a noise like the one captured in the YouTube video, which doesn’t appear to be linked to eating. Obviously, this speaks against the grub worm identification, but then what else might our reader have found?
Unfortunately, we don’t have a satisfactory answer to that question. The creature looks like a grub worms, but it is making a sound that is evidently not associated with grub worms. There are plenty of insects that do make sound – cicadas and crickets come to mind – but we don’t know of any that go through a larval stage like the creature in the video. Cicada and crickets, for example, go through a nymph stage during their maturation, which means that their immature form resembles their adult form, and so they don’t look like worms.
Alas, we are left with little else to say, and we must conclude with uncertainty. However, one thing we can say is that it seems like our reader did find a larva, as opposed to a worm, and we suspect that it is a beetle larva. Given the vast number of beetle species, this doesn’t narrow the range of possibilities all that much, but it’s something. If anyone has come across a larva that makes noise, please let us know in a comment or email. If we find out anything, we’ll update this post.