Very small thin long white worm found in garden.
Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 1:57 PM
I was gardening and found this very thin and small in diameter, long, almost string like. Looked like a piece of sewing thread. I was digging up dirt and happen to see it and it began moving. Wondering what this is and if its harmful to me or my pets.
Woodland, Ca, United States
We didn’t think this hairlike or threadlike worm would be that difficult to identify, but the exact identification is proving quite elusive for us. We believe this is a Nematode Worm of some type, but we are not certain. We feel confident that one of our readers will be able to properly identify your White Worm.
Free living soil nematodes are usually very small, typically less than 1 mm in length. This could be a displaced parasitic nematode, but I am inclined to think it may be a juvenile nematomorph (a.k.a. Gordian worm or horsehair worm). As juveniles, nematomorphs are parasites of insects and other arthropods. When mature, they exit their host when the host is in or near water, and they then complete their life cycle as free-living, non-feeding aquatic adults. I have seen several instances, and it is probably not unusual, where one has prematurely left a host that has died (e.g., squished on a sidewalk). If this is a nematomorph, perhaps its host died; maybe you got it with a garden implement. They are fascinating creatures and definitely harmless to humans.
There are some pictures very similar to yours at: http://www.matthewbolek.com/Nematomorphs%20for%20web%20page/Nematomorphaindex.html