What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Potato Bug with something that busted out of it.
We found this Potato Bug on the floor in our studios, still moving. At first I thought the long black thing was intestines. When I scooped it up with a paper towel the long black then fell to the ground and moved rapidly. It appears to be a worm of some sort. How it came from this bug and what type of parasite or worm it is is not known. At first I thought someone must have accidentally stepped on the bug, but on closer examination, it appears the worm busted out of the bug. Have you seen anything like this?
Robbie Rush

Hi Robbie,
We have heard several stories about Potato Bugs being parasitized by Horsehair Worms. Dr. Bug substantiates that Horsehair Worms in the genus Gordius are Potato Bug parasites. Here is a quote from his site: “They are sometimes found dead in swimming pools and ponded waters. This is either the result of a simple drowning or a parasite infection. The horsehair worm (Gordius spp. or Paragordius spp.) can inhabit the jerusalem cricket’s gut and feed. The worm can alter the behavior of the cricket and force it to seek water. Once in water, the worm bursts through the insect’s abdomen and seeks a mate. The cricket dies from the wound. I have found them in ponds at O’Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon (1980’s) and at Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary (2002).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

One Response to Horsehair Worm parasitizes Potato Bug

  1. Clayton says:

    I have seen this with my own eyes! Me and my gf just saw a potato bug and I was telling her a story how I accidentally smashed a potato bug and a long hair like worm was living inside it’s butt!

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