Currently viewing the category: "Worms"

Subject:  Large pink centipede found in Caribbean tidepool
Geographic location of the bug:  St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Date: 09/03/2021
Time: 01:35 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this large, pink/red centipede on the rockwall of a tide pool on St Croix in the U.S. Virgin tidepool.
My father idiotically touched it without knowing what it is. He barely tapped it on its rear end. Hours later, he has some pain in his finger, but nothing severe. We were hoping to identify this centipede to tell if it is venomous or not.
It has large bristles on both sides of it. It must be adapted to saltwater, as this is a tidepool connected to the Caribbean. It was able to move pretty quickly.
I appreciate any help you can give!
How you want your letter signed:  Brennan

Bearded Fireworm

Dear Brennan,
This is not a Centipede.  Centipedes are not aquatic.  This is a Bearded Fireworm,
Hermodice carunculata, which we initially located on Alamy, and then learned on Wikipedia that it is “native to the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea” and “At first glance, this fire worm looks like a centipede with its elongated and flattened appearance, multiple segments, white silks, and parapodia and gills located on the side of its body.”  Wikipedia elaborates:  “The bearded fireworm is a slow creature, and is not considered a threat to humans unless touched by careless swimmers. The bristles, when flared, can penetrate human skin, injecting a powerful neurotoxin and producing intense irritation and a painful burning sensation around the area of contact. The sting can also lead to nausea and dizziness. This sensation lasts up to a few hours, but a painful tingling can continue to be felt around the area of contact. In a case of accidental contact, application and removal of adhesive tape will help remove the spines; applying isopropanol to the area may help alleviate the pain. ”  Reef Guide has many nice images of Bearded Fireworms.

Subject:  Imposter from Japan?
Geographic location of the bug:  Cannon Beach, Oregon
Date: 11/09/2018
Time: 12:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found on the beach, November 9, 2018. Was in shallow sea water.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious Salemites, Lisa & Steve

Bristle Worm

Dear Curious Salemites,
We have an image in our archives also from Oregon that we previously tentatively identified as a Marine Worm in the genus
Glycera, and this image from APhotoMarine supports that identification.

Update:  November 11, 2018
Thanks to a comment from Rusty, we were informed of the common name Bristle Worm.  We searched that and found The Chesapeake Bay Program site that indicates Bristle Worms are in the class  Polychaeta
and this information is provided:  “Bristle worms are soft, segmented worms found along shorelines, mud flats and shallow waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. … Bristle worms have soft, segmented bodies with tiny, hair-like bristles along each side. The bristles are attached to appendages called parapodia. Each body segment has one pair of parapodia, which vary in shape depending on the species. Most worms have a head with eyes, antennae and sensory palps.”   According to Scenic Oregon:  “Polychaete worms, of the group Polychaeta, are annelids (segmented worms) that have “legs”– called parapodia– with bristles at the ends.  Some polychaetes, especially types of tubeworms, resemble palm trees, with a plume of frond-like appendages at the head.  Of all the species of annelids, the vast majority are polychaetes, with around 10,000 known species.  Some common names for different types of polychaetes are bristleworms, clam worms, featherduster worms, fire worms, lugworms, palolo worms, Pompeii worms, sea mice,  tubeworms, and many others.  They live underwater in almost every ocean environment, from cold water to undersea volcanic vents, with some burrowing into the sand at the shoreline.”

Subject:  Horsehair or Gordian Worm
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington, Texas
Date: 02/09/2018
Time: 09:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Here is another example of a Gordian worm. It was observed following a rain Jan 27, 2018.
How you want your letter signed:  A Texas Master Naturalist

Horsehair Worm

Dear Texas Master Naturalist,
Thank you for sending in your awesome image.  We are quite fond of both descriptive common names for this parasite.  Horsehair Worm is the name we are using to describe the image you submitted because the creature is stretched out and really does resemble a hair from a horse’s tail or mane, and we suspect the illusion might even be more startling given the opportunity to view the worm submerged in water.  The other common name, Gordian Worm, refers to the Gordian Knot of mythology that could not be untangled, and it is a perfect visual metaphor for a Horsetail Worm when it is contracted into a ball.  How long was your Horsehair Worm?

It was about 15 inches or maybe more if it had been straight. The stick to the right of it is my walking stick, which is about 1 in diameter.


Subject: Strange creature–land or sea?
Location: Anna Maria Island, Florida
March 25, 2017 5:47 am
We were walking the beach on Anna Maria Island in Florida when we came upon this fellow. It was right on the wet sand where the waves come up. Couldn’t tell where he came from or where he was going. Any ideas?
Signature: Nan

Bristle Worm

Dear Nan,
This Bristle Worm is actually an Annelid marine worm.  We found this matching image on Matthew Meier Photo and another on Florida Sportsman.    

Subject: Parasite in stool
Location: USA, Egypt, Germany
March 1, 2016 12:50 pm
Hello! I’m hoping you can help me and see what this parasite is. It is white when exposed to air and dries. It is hard, almost like a twig, sometimes with a whip tail on the back and almost looks segmented but doesn’t appear to be the same as a tapeworm. Some sections of it splinters off, possibly male and female sexual productive pieces within the same worm. I’m not sure. It was found in human feces by the dozens. It can be roughly half inch long or longer. It does seem to break apart somewhat easily. I lived in Egypt for a year coming back about 7 months ago to the USA. It could have been caught at either location. Also, spent a night in Germany while traveling between. Thank you so much!
Signature: SarahD

"Worm" in Stool Sample

“Worm” in Stool Sample

Dear SarahD,
We do not have the necessary credentials to diagnose human parasites nor diseases, and we would urge you to see a professional for a diagnosis.  We cannot tell is this is an organism or if it is roughage.

Subject: Unknown Slug from Mount Santubong, Sarawak, Borneo
Location: Santubong NP, Sarawak, Borneo
April 14, 2015 11:47 am
Hi. Recently i went hiking at Mount Santubong National Park at Sarawak, Borneo, using the Summit Trail. I encounter this pretty blue black with white strip/bands worm on a tree trunk. It has a split in the middle too. As I’m a zoology student, I’ve ask around (lecturers etc) and they could only ensure me that it was not a platyhelmintes but some slug. I’m not sure about the elevation, but it was found after some 2280 m along the trail. And since I’ve no known experts to ask and my curiosity is giving me sleepless nights, I would like to try my luck here. It would be great if you know what this slug is. Thanks.
Signature: Tan, C.F.

Hi. I’ve missed to input some details. Santubong NP is a tropical rainforest and the slug is about 5cm long,1 cm width. Thanks.



Dear Tan, C.F.,
This is not a Slug which is a shell-less mollusc.  This is a Planarian or Flatworm.  We located a very similar looking image on Photographers Direct, but alas, it is not identified as to its species.
  A video on Siam Answer does not provide an identification either.  A similar looking image on Project Noah is identified as a Hammerhead Worm, possibly in the genus Bipalium.