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Exit ArchiveArchive for September 19th, 2009

There are these half-inch-long flat bits of something that I have been finding in my apartment for years. I thought they were just some kind of odd “leftover”… bug shells or carcasses, or maybe a flattened droppings. I don’t have vermin in my apartment, no mice or rats, so it couldn’t really be droppings. No roaches, thank God. But I do have silverfish. Lots and lots of silverfish.

One day, some time ago, I saw one of these flat things moving. It surprised and mystified me. I could not tell how the thing was moving. It was so slow and ponderous, and I didn’t see any legs. Grabbing it in a Kleenex didn’t show me anything; it just sat there, like a piece of nothing, and I threw it away. Just last week, I found one crawling slowly up my bedroom wall, and saw a tiny something at the front, though I could not really discern what it was. Grabbing it again didn’t show me anything.

Finally, today, I saw one in the kitchen sink and got to examine it. It had a head poking out one end. Then the head went away and poked out the other end. Odd! I picked the thing out of the sink and put it on my counter. After a minute, it poked its head out again, then started crawling, slowly and ponderously. I took pictures and a movie.
 
 
What the hell? What was this thing?

As I was pondering the mystery with Derrick tonight, I decided to randomly search something: “silverfish larvae.” What if these were, somehow, the larval stage of the silverfish? It didn’t make much sense because I’ve seen very tiny silverfish, much smaller than this hermit worm.

The answer was easier to find than I thought. Someone else out there had thought the same thing, but we were both wrong about the silverfish connection. Here it is, the larva of the household casebearer moth. Now I also know what to call those tiny little moths I sometimes see around.

It turns out that the little larva fella can turn around in that silk-lined house of his! That explains the “double heads.”

Well, now that I know these are just moth larvae, I’m not nearly as creeped out by them as I am by the silverfish. Silverfish are always spooking me by writhing out from under things… Gads!

Household Casebearer Moth Larva