Currently viewing the category: "Worms"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Potato Bug and Gordian Worm
Location: Porter Ranch, California
February 12, 2011 8:40 pm
Hello Bugman!
I spotted this Jerusalem Cricket in the pool this morning (02-12-11), although I had no idea what it was at the time. After I scooped it out and realized it had drowned, I then spotted what I thought was an extremely skinny snake swimming in the pool. I scooped it out also, then took a few photos of the ”snake” and the ”termite on steroids”. I threw the ”snake” over the fence and went inside to get a ruler for size in the photo of the other bug. I wasn’t quick enough because a Scrub Jay spotted him and flew off with lunch before I could take photos with a ruler.
Frustrated, I decided to begin at What’s That Bug and to identify the bug. Little did I know that the ”snake” was actually a Gordian Worm or I’d have taken more care to get a decent photo. Drat.
Offering gratitude for your awesome sight, although photo perusal did cause me several shivers and a couple of gags. (I like bugs for the services they provide and their place in the world, but it does get a bit creepy to look at their anatomy in detailed images. To that end, I’m attaching my own creepy images.) After finding out what the duo were named, I even found a video online showing a cricket dive into a pool and the worm wriggle out of him. *shiver again*
(I had four pictures – attached are three)
Signature: Regards, Tiffany Hawkins

Jerusalem Cricket

Dear Tiffany,
Thank you for your wonderful email and excellent photos.  The relationship between the parasitic Gordian Worm and the host Jerusalem Cricket or Potato Bug is a chilling example of complexity of the web of life on our planet.  The chances of a Jerusalem Cricket ingesting the cyst of the worm and then hosting the internal parasite until being suicidally driven to seek out water in which to drown itself are quite slim, yet enough Gordian Worms survive to perpetuate the species.  Gordian Worms are also known as Horsehair Worms.

Gordian Worm

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this
Location: League city, texas
January 9, 2011 9:02 pm
This snake or worm was found alive at the bottom of our pool after a rain in early January
Signature: Austin

Gordian Worm

Dear Austin,
This is a Gordian Worm or Horsehair Worm.  It is an internal parasite of certain insects and arthropods including the Potato Bug.  The Gordian Worm has a very complicated life cycle, but it reaches maturity inside the digestive tract of a Potato Bug.  When the worm is mature, it releases a chemical that drives the Potato Bug to seek water.  Once the Potato Bug enters the water, the worm bursts out killing the host.  Adult Gordian Worms mate in the water.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

description of worm, have dreams of them
January 7, 2011 10:23 pm
I keep having this same dream over and over.  In it there is a worm with either a red or orange head, four white segments behind, and on the first and last white segments, there are two black legs.  They come burrowing out of the person’s body, and they come out singly, but there is a lot of them.  What could these worms be?
Signature: Daniel

Is the Tetrio Sphinx the source of the Red Headed Dream Worm?

Dear Daniel,
WE are not in the business of dream interpretation, but we do have enough knowledge to know that dreams are a combination of many real life experiences and sensory data that are modified by psychological impulses including fears and desires.  Perhaps you have a fear of parasites.  There are numerous worms that can be found inside humans, including Tapeworms.  There are also some internal parasites that are insects like the Human Bot Fly.  There are also many somewhat wormlike insects with red heads that we have in our archives including the Tetrio Sphinx Caterpillar, a Walkingstick from Ecuador, the Red Headed Centipede, the Red Headed Pine Sawfly Larva and the Azalea Caterpillar.  We cannot say for certain that your dream worm does not exist, but since you are unable to send us an image of what is going on inside your head, we are going to have to leave it as unidentified.

Might the Red Headed Centipede cause Nightmares?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location: Albany, NY
November 30, 2010
Thank you for the springtail identification. Um, oops! I don’t think my boss will make me get rid of my plants though thankfully.
We work at AMC in Cell Biology and Cancer research. We have several projects going on here including some Alzheimers research, but my boss likes to look at calcium signaling in the cells and what genes affect it. The worms are transparent, easy to care for, easy to maintain and easy to modify genetically so they make great subjects. The grad students have several projects that they juggle and as a technician I usually have projects that require checking brood size, defecation cycle and crossing strains. I also make and seed the plates with E. coli and try my best not to add any extras, such as microscopic insects. It is a really cool job and our PI is a lot of fun to work with.  I have attached random pictures from our files. I wish I could tell you what strains they are, but they are unlabeled. The green worm is being examined on a GFP microscope. Thanks again!
Cara D.


Hi Cara,
Thanks so much for sending us your photographs of Nematodes and explaining about your work in the laboratory.  According to the University of Nebraska Nematology website:  “Nematodes are the most numerous multicellular animals on earth. A handful of soil will contain thousands of the microscopic worms, many of them parasites of insects, plants or animals. Free-living species are abundant, including nematodes that feed on bacteria, fungi, and other nematodes, yet the vast majority of species encountered are poorly understood biologically. There are nearly 20,000 described species classified in the phylum Nemata .  Nematodes are structurally simple organisms. Adult nematodes are comprised of approximately 1,000 somatic cells, and potentially hundreds of cells associated with the reproductive system . Nematodes have been characterized as a tube within a tube ; referring to the alimentary canal which extends from the mouth on the anterior end, to the anus located near the tail. Nematodes possess digestive, nervous, excretory, and reproductive systems, but lack a discrete circulatory or respiratory system. In size they range from 0.3 mm to over 8 meters.


P.S.  We are having problems posting your photo taken with the microscope as we cannot convert the file.  Hopefully our webmaster can assist.

Nematode under Microscope

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

November 27, 2010:  The Story Until Now
After first Umber and then Ginger were buried in the yard, their sister Amber still had a swollen eye that was not improving despite aspirin & garlic, neosporin, and tetra-antibiotic treatments.  Amber was moved to a convalescent hospital on Sunday November 21.   She was left in the care of Kimberly who believes Amber has an eye parasite (from eating garden worms) and promised to worm Amber the very next day.  Kimberly is a kind woman who takes in chickens whose health is severely compromised, and she nurses them back to health.

Chicken Coop Front View

Daniel got assistance from Victor on Thanksgiving and the chicken coop was rotated 180º so that the back of the house will get the sunrise and sunset will happen in the front.  The interior was hosed down and all the chicken sh#t was swept up and buried in the vegetable patch.  The inside of the coop was sprayed with bleach diluted in water 1:7.

Chicken Coop Rear View

The rear of the coop which had been unpainted plywood was primed with green primer that was watered down to better penetrate the wood.

Update: November 28, 2010
Since Daniel spent so much time and energy building a chicken coop and habitat, he has not given up on the endeavor to raise chickens in the yard.  Wes in El Monte has already told Daniel that he will get him some nice hens, and Amber may recover and return home.  Since chickens are social creatures, Amber will not be coming home unless there are some companions for her.  It might be best to start anew with some young chicks that have been inoculated against the horrific diseases like Newcastle and Marek’s.  Though the first chapter in the adventures of the Fuzzy Bottom Gals has ended tragically, it is expected that future chapters will contain some happy times.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What do ya think?
October 25, 2010 12:58 PM
Adam Schreck
Sent from my useless iphone

Arrowheaded Flatworm

Hi Adam,
What we think is that you did not use our form for submission, so much of the information we require in our form, which is of tremendous assistance to us for identification purposes as well as for the benefit of our readership, is absent from your submission which is curiously devoid of content.  This is a Land Planarium or Arrowhead Flatworm. We also think your photo is a bit blurry and that it is a cold morning and that we should put on a pot of coffee and that we have a very busy day at work today, but somehow we don’t think you want to know all of what we are thinking.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination