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parasitic worm

 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Here's a worm I have never seen before.  I live in SW Washington state, near Portland, Oregon.




A short blurry video showing it moving its head around:


It was definitely not an earthworm.  I'd say it was around 80mm long and 0.5 mm in diameter.  It was moving around on a branch in in my brush pile.  It has been showery here for a week so everything is moist.

Anybody know what this is?
 
pollinator
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I feel like a long time ago i saw something like that in the shallows of a lake.
I am no expert but perhaps it is some kind of very large tubifex worm which is normally aquatic so it would be strange unless there is some body of water or perhaps a septic tank leech field...

Personally if I saw this I would somewhat feel like killing it, in fear it was a parasite.

I used to have a dog who was afraid of worms, it would bark at them, then roll over on top of them and literally flatten them to death.

Sides, a surfaced earthworm is an eaten earthworm round here.
 
pollinator
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It looks like a Horse Hair Worm or Gordian worm and if it is then yes, Smile, it's a parasite.

Here's another photo with a video :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkinghippy/2315268298/



 
Emil Spoerri
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I'm a little mixed on my fear of parasites too. I have heard many good things about them. Giant worms that aren't quite the right shape give me the heebeejeebees... even more so after reading this thread.
 
Dave Miller
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Thanks Irene, I think you nailed it. 

I too initially cringed at the thought of it as a parasite until I saw the list of what it parisitizes:

grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, beetles, and katydids, as well as dragonflies, caddisflies, millipedes, centipedes, spiders, crustaceans, leaches, snails, slugs, and other invertebrates - http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/e614horsehair.html

I say let it parasitize all the slugs & snails it wants!
 
Irene Kightley
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Adunca,

That's a really nice link, thanks.

I must admit I winced a bit when I saw the video and it's a shame that worms and snakes both have a very bad press.

Now that I know more about the horse worm I feel comfortable with them and I look out for them with interest. I also really enjoy seeing snakes now and watching them watching me instead of just chasing them off. 
 
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Irene Kightley wrote:it's a shame that worms and snakes both have a very bad press.



I had much the same thought recently, when my town got drunk to celebrate the expulsion of pagans from Ireland.
 
It wasn't my idea to go to some crazy nightclub in the middle of nowhere. I just wanted to stay home and cuddle with this tiny ad:
dry stack retaining wall
https://permies.com/t/85178/dry-stack-retaining-wall
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