Can you help identify this worm?

It was found in a cup of water at a restaurant (unpleasant, yes), likely came through the water system. (Location: Texas) Found these images of it online (in which they were also found in water systems - dog bowl, sink), but none of the sites identified it.

Significant features: black head, black pointed tail, clear body with grayish intestines visible, tiny (2-3 mm)

Similar larvae that don't match: -Mosquito larvae -Midge larvae

Any insight is appreciated, including if you are familiar with similar looking larvae. Thank you.

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2 Answers 2


The larvae are moth flies (Psychoda sp.)

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The black head, black pointed tail, clear body with grayish intestines visible and also their small size 2-3 mm can be seen on both pictures.

Where they can be found in nature:

In nature, moth fly larvae, Psychoda sp. (Diptera: Psychodidae) normally occur in aquatic habitats that experience intermittent submersion or flooding. The larvae develop in polluted, shallow water or highly moist organic solids where they feed on decaying organic material in mud, moss or water.

Where they can be found in households:

In homes, the adult flies, which resemble tiny moths, are most likely found on the walls of bathrooms, kitchens, basements and other locations where sewer drains and plumbing fixtures are located. The flies are poor fliers and usually are found close to the drain or area from which they came. Moth fly larvae are known to live in drain traps, garbage disposals, toilet tanks, sides of drain pipes and overflow pipes in homes, wet areas around leaky pipes, sewer lines, and septic tanks where they feed on stuff that might accumulate in such areas. The moth flies that live in Michigan do not bite and are not known to transmit disease of any sort.

What to do against them:

The best way to control moth flies is to eliminate or reduce the larval food sources by thoroughly cleaning drain lines and plumbing fixtures. Pouring boiling water down the drain where larvae are suspected to be may help to reduce their numbers. Adults can be controlled with the application of a household aerosol insecticide (like Raid) or a good flyswatter. Be sure to read and follow all instructions and safety precautions found on the label before.

There are various other methods which are far more precise, listing how to eliminate moth flies from drains.

  • $\begingroup$ But what happens if someone drinks them along with water? $\endgroup$ May 30, 2016 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ @rishabbairagi I suppose that your stomach acid can deal with them, worst case scenario would be internal myiasis which could cause cramps, vomiting and diarrhea,. $\endgroup$
    – Ebbinghaus
    May 30, 2016 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ @JordiZambrino My concern is that the article you quote only says they are found near dirty water, nothing you'd want you to drink. If your drinking water is full of maggots, what other pathogens are floating around in that? $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Jun 6, 2016 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ @user137 Pathogens that would be floating around in drinking water; I'd suggest they could be MSSA and MRSA Staphylococcus aureus $\endgroup$
    – Ebbinghaus
    Jun 6, 2016 at 8:56

These are moth fly larvae (Psychodidae). They live in sinks, bathtubs etc. See http://bugguide.net/node/view/201443/bgimage

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please include an image that shows this is the right ID, as well as additional supportive evidence, such as that its distribution overlaps with the location of OP at the time of sighting etc. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jul 16, 2019 at 2:31

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