On two recent occasions in the last week, a reader found a worm in her toilet. She found the worm after she used and flushed the toilet in both instances. The worm in the toilet is quite small – it is only about a half an inch long (about 1.5 centimeters) – and it has a white and grey body. (It isn’t really either color, so the worm is more of a whitish, grayish color, with both end tips of the worm being a darker, almost black color.) Understandably, the reader was worried about finding a worm in her toilet, so she went to the doctor to be tested for parasites. She was given Albenza by the doctor as she awaited her test results. In the meantime, she asked us to weigh in the matter, hoping that we can identify the small worm in the toilet she found.
First, here is one of the pictures our reader sent us:
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All of the pictures we were sent are good, but they looked similar, so we included only this one.
We are not, as we have said many times, medical doctors, so the reader was wise to go to the doctor with what appeared to be a health problem. However, in this instance we are quite confident our reader found a moth fly larva, which almost certainly didn’t come out of her body, and in fact has nothing to do with the reader at all apart from the fact that it is in her toilet. Of course, we are speaking only from what little authority is invested in worm identifiers (or in this instance, larva identifiers), and anything the doctor says supersedes what we say, but what she found is by all indications a moth fly larva. If she does test positive for any parasitic infection, it would be purely coincidental, at least assuming she found a moth fly larva, which, just to hammer home the point for a third time, seems very likely.
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We are confident in this identification because the creature pictured above looks exactly like a moth fly larvae, and it was also found in precisely the type of place one would expect to find a moth fly larvae: a pool of stagnant water with bacteria and some lingering decaying organic matter. It isn’t that our reader is uncleanly or anything like that, or at least she isn’t necessarily uncleanly (obviously we have no idea what the status of her toilet is). Rather, a toilet is simply a perfect place for a moth fly larvae, as are a few other places in the bathroom, like sink and shower drains. (In fact, moth flies are often called “drain flies.”) Adding further justification for our suggestion is the fact that we have written about moth fly larvae in toilets before, when we answered a question that is very similar to the one we are presently concerned with. So, we have every reason to think she found a moth fly larvae and basically no reason to think she didn’t.
Obviously, we aren’t infallible, and it is not as if any worm or larvae identification can rise to the level of analytic truth, but in this instance we are unusually confident in our moth fly larvae suggestion. And if we are right on this matter, our reader needn’t worry about having a parasitic infection, at least not on the basis of the larva she found in her toilet.