1 of 3
1
What in the world is this? . . .  Mr. Horsehair Worm (nematomorph)
Posted: 11 July 2011 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3796
Joined  2010-08-15

I’ve been taking care of a neighbor’s plants while they’re on a river trip, and there’s this planter dish about 14” diameter and a little over 2” deep displaced on the lawn (not your manicured lawn mind you, a wild lawn).  We’ve had some rains lately, so there was <1/2” of water in the thing, along with a dead cricket; a couple pine needles; a few male pine cones floating around. . .

And this string that started undulating when I moved the dish.  At first I think, it’s being pushed by the water but then I notice, there’s more going on here. 

It keeps undulating and swimming circles around the perimeter probing the shore line with its head, yet returning to the water.  At one point I tipped the plate to give it easy passage over the edge.  But after the head went less that 1/4” it backed off, back into the water.

I’ve never seen nothing like it and went for my tape measure to verify that my estimate of around a foot long was right.  After much observation I would call it well over 10”, but not over 11”.  It’s diameter is 1/64th, to a 1/100th near the front quarter of its body which ends in a slight bulge, a head ~ no my tape ain’t that accurate, but my eyes can estimate wink.  The tail end also tapers to, I’d guess 1/100th of a inch.  The thing moves like a snake.

My first thought was some bizarre nematode, but Wiki assures me that the longest species reach two inches.  But, I’ve never hear of a snake 11 inches by less than 1/64 inch before.  A worm?  Incredibly active for a worm.

I’m tempted to pour it onto the lawn and see what happens, but it just doesn’t seem like this thing would have the ability to negotiate terra firma.  So I’ve left it in the dish where it continues swimming the perimeter and reminding me I’m not imagining things.


Any thoughts?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    cheese

[ Edited: 06 November 2011 01:17 AM by citizenschallenge.pm ]
 Signature 

How many times do lies need to be exposed
before we have permission to trash them?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2011 08:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2588
Joined  2011-04-24

That’s weird CC, it sounds almost like a tapeworm. You should contact the local Animal Control.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2011 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7641
Joined  2008-04-11
mid atlantic - 11 July 2011 08:01 PM

That’s weird CC, it sounds almost like a tapeworm. You should contact the local Animal Control.

And it is probably a busy bee, laying LOTS and LOTS of eggs to infect the next 10,000 animals who drink out of the dish. Make sure your dogs can’t drink out of it. I wouldn’t want the wildlife to drink it either because they will be pooping tapeworm to infect YOUR anmials, again and again and again. As a matter of fact I’d get them tested, meanwhile don’t let them lick your face and lavas los manos, frequently!!!

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2011 10:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3796
Joined  2010-08-15
asanta - 11 July 2011 09:31 PM
mid atlantic - 11 July 2011 08:01 PM

That’s weird CC, it sounds almost like a tapeworm. You should contact the local Animal Control.

And it is probably a busy bee, laying LOTS and LOTS of eggs to infect the next 10,000 animals who drink out of the dish. Make sure your dogs can’t drink out of it. I wouldn’t want the wildlife to drink it either because they will be pooping tapeworm to infect YOUR anmials, again and again and again. As a matter of fact I’d get them tested, meanwhile don’t let them lick your face and lavas los manos, frequently!!!

Hmmm, no pets around here, except for a cat that appears occasionally.  Nearest neighbor .2 miles distant, and spread fairly thin beyond that.
Although parasite did come to mind looking at the thing.

We do get a lot of deer moving through here, there’s a salt lick out in the field, and I’ve seen a whole litany of other wild critters coming through - not all the time but occasionally.  I imagine they get tape worms too.

But, that does touch on the next question: how did the thing appear in a stranded dish out in the open?

 Signature 

How many times do lies need to be exposed
before we have permission to trash them?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 04:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14

No idea, CC, but that’s weird. I wonder if you could get a photo. What color is the ‘string’?

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3796
Joined  2010-08-15
dougsmith - 12 July 2011 04:02 AM

No idea, CC, but that’s weird. I wonder if you could get a photo. What color is the ‘string’?

We had a bunch more rain last night and the dish has more water in it, but it seems to be doing fine.  It’s a trip watching it’s head probe the edge.  Nothing else seems alive in the water.

When I play with the water so that part of it’s body is out of the water it seems to nearly double its apparent diameter, whether from flattening out or from some illusion caused by the film of water still surrounding it I don’t know.

It’s brownish, but so thin it’s hard to nail down past that.  I need to get off to a full day of work, but perhaps this evening I’ll see if I can figure out how to take a picture of it, although an un-magnified image will just look like a piece of string.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

PS. Doug perhaps you could delete the duplicate post     cheese

[ Edited: 12 July 2011 06:49 AM by citizenschallenge.pm ]
 Signature 

How many times do lies need to be exposed
before we have permission to trash them?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14
citizenschallenge.pm - 12 July 2011 06:47 AM

PS. Doug perhaps you could delete the duplicate post     cheese

Done ...  smile

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9283
Joined  2006-08-29

What about this one, Oregon giant earthworm?

5nqkpd.jpg

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9283
Joined  2006-08-29

BTW, CC, if you think it could be the Oregon giant earthworm, you should probably contact the local university to let them know. The Oregon giant earthworm hasn’t been seen since 1981.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9283
Joined  2006-08-29

Actually, it sounds more like this one: Nematomorpha, horsehair worm.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14
George - 12 July 2011 07:48 AM

Actually, it sounds more like this one: Nematomorpha, horsehair worm.

Fascinating, thanks for that. Check out this interesting ick: “In Spinochordodes tellinii, which has orthopterans as its vector, the infection acts on the insect’s brain and causes it to seek water and drown itself, thus returning the nematomorph to water. They are also remarkably able to survive the predation of their host, being able to wriggle out of the predator that has eaten the host.”

There are also videos of the worms at the bottom of the wiki page.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9283
Joined  2006-08-29

Yeah, I know, it’s amazing. I have often seen Robert Sapolsky to describe the manipulation of the brain infected by different parasites, and it’s absolutely fascinating.

[ Edited: 12 July 2011 01:45 PM by George ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5976
Joined  2009-02-26
George - 12 July 2011 07:48 AM

Actually, it sounds more like this one: Nematomorpha, horsehair worm.


Exactly, it would easily explain its appearance in an open raised bowl.

Nematomorpha (sometimes called Gordiacea, and commonly known as horsehair worms or Gordian worms)

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3796
Joined  2010-08-15
George - 12 July 2011 07:48 AM

Actually, it sounds more like this one: Nematomorpha, horsehair worm.

220px-Paragordius_tricuspidatus.jpeg
George,
I think you called it.
The fella on the right.
If I had a little microscope I’d take a close look at that cricket carcass.  It’s wild to think that thing may have came out of the poor little cricket.

WIKI
In Spinochordodes tellinii, which has orthopterans as its vector, the infection acts on the insect’s brain and causes it to seek water and drown itself, thus returning the nematomorph to water.[5]

220px-Spinochordodes_in_Meconema.jpg

I called the local college, but alas, summer isn’t the best time to get through to a biologist.

 Signature 

How many times do lies need to be exposed
before we have permission to trash them?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 July 2011 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3796
Joined  2010-08-15

Don’t know if anyone’s interested but I’m still fascinated by this thing.

I came home yesterday afternoon and it looked like a dropped piece of floss in a maze of curls, but one prod showed that it was still alive, so I let it be.

I just checked in on it this morning and it’s alive.  Doing it’s slow perambulation around the dish, it seemed noticeably longer so I got my tape measure out and now I’d call it 12-13 inches long.

 Signature 

How many times do lies need to be exposed
before we have permission to trash them?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 July 2011 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9283
Joined  2006-08-29

I think it’s about time, CC, you should give it a name.  cheese

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 3
1