I couldn't identify which species these worms belong to. I believe they're insect larvae. They measure approximately 5 to 10 mm in length, and are common in the southern states of India. They carry cocoons, open at both ends, which the worms can wriggle inside and alternate their direction of movement. These cocoons are perfectly smooth except for the openings. Another post shows something similar, but the cocoon of that worm looks more woven, while this one doesn't.

Image of the worm in cocoon

  • $\begingroup$ It's a larva of moth: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phereoeca_uterella . Not exactly this species in the link, because this one is from the Americas. $\endgroup$
    – user24284
    Jun 9 '16 at 6:05
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    $\begingroup$ It will probably be easier to identify the adult. Try to keep this in a jar or something and see what it becomes. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Jun 9 '16 at 8:07
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    $\begingroup$ Probably a moth and here is an earlier similar question $\endgroup$ Jun 9 '16 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ i see these all the time and have tried finding information online a few times but never found an answer. this is the only photo i have seen that matches. i'm in eastern india. i really want to know the exact species! $\endgroup$
    – inarilo
    Aug 11 '17 at 5:46

This is definitely the larvae of one of a many number of case-bearing moth species. As noted in comments and elsewhere, these case-bearing moths show up fairly frequently on Bio.SE (e.g., see here, here, here, here and here for some examples).

Most of these moths are members of one of two families: Coleophoridae (the case bearing moths) or Tineidae (the fungus moths).

Some of these species even build cases that they carry around with them.

Your specific example is possibly Tinea pellionella (case-bearing clothes moth).

[Tinea pellionella larva in portable case, Rushmere St. Andrew, Suffolk, 23 April 2005.

T. pellionella has a cosmopolitan distribution and occurs nearly worldwide (Cheema 1956). As the Wikipedia article summarizes, the larva feeds mainly on fibrous keratin (e.g., hair and feathers) as well as carpets, furs, upholstery, and woolen fabrics. The larvae remain inside a case it constructs from debris such as hairs and fibers (e.g., from clothing, upholstery, carpets, etc.).


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