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I observed this tiny creature burrowing through the dusty soil of Cachuma Lake Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County, California, on June 8, 2014, about 7 a.m. I have really no clue what it could be, other than an annelid, or newly hatched type of legless lizard or snake. But it seems too tiny for the latter. Yet, I would think an annelid would need more moisture, or different soil. Do worms live in dust? I watched it for about five minutes, maybe more. Burrowing under and re-emerging. So that seemed to be its normal environment.

Here's a closeup, and a link to a Youtube page I put up for it. Video on Youtube of animal's movement

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ The creatures movement (youtube) is NOT that of an annalid. They contract and expand rather than zigzagging like this creature does. Zigzagging is a snakelike movement. Unfortunately, I am by no means an expert an Californian fauna. $\endgroup$ – RHA May 8 '16 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! I couldn't put my finger on it, but yes, that's it - it doesn't move like a worm, which is why I'm very curious what this is. Thanks for helping clarify that in my mind. $\endgroup$ – Chinghis May 8 '16 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ could it be an enchytraeidae? $\endgroup$ – Ebbinghaus May 8 '16 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Jordi_Zambrino Aren't all enchytraeidae aquatic? $\endgroup$ – RHA May 8 '16 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ Just found here that the worlds smallest snake is still four inches. That makes a snake very unlikely. Hmm confused now. $\endgroup$ – RHA May 8 '16 at 17:35
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I'm going to answer this question and close it. Based on the location, the environment, its appearance and behavior, I'm 90% sure that this creature was a Stiletto Fly (Therevid) larva. Most likely an Acrosathe sp., as those tend to be very common in the area. Thanks to all for your help in clarifying and narrowing it down for me.

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  • $\begingroup$ You are probably right. Unless you can find an expert on Californian flies, it's unlikely you will ever be 100% sure. $\endgroup$ – RHA May 13 '16 at 20:01

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