Horsehair worms are long, measuring from several inches to over 14 inches. Another name for horsehair worm is Gordian worm.Horsehair worms resemble hairs from horses actively moving in the water. They are parasitic in arthropods during their juvenile stage. The worms often squirm and twist in the water, knotting themselves into a loose, ball-like shape, resembling the "Gordian Knot." When mature, they leave the host to lay eggs. When mature, it leaves the host insect to start the process again.These long, slender creatures are harmless so there is no need for control. They vary in color from whitish to yellow/tan to brown/black. There, it digests and absorbs the surrounding tissue. They do not infest people, livestock, pets or plants. The horsehair worms are interesting threadlike roundworms that resemble the "hair of a horse's tail or mane." Parasitized crickets are thirsty and go to water to drink. This has led to a variety of stories about their origin. Please see our website for Like us at Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology Their presence indicates that a cricket or some other host insects got in the container and died, releasing the worm. The horsehair worms are not a problem but contamination from other sources can be.Tangled masses of these worms can be found In the spring. No control measures are needed when this interesting worm is found.The Iowa State University Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic will identify your insect, provide information on what it eats, life cycle, and if it is a pest the best ways to manage them. Horsehair worms develop as parasites in the bodies of grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, and some beetles. Horsehair worm. The name “horsehair worm” refers to the old belief that they came from horse hairs that fell into water and came to life. When someone squashes a host insect, the worm will escape. They are similar to nematodes but much longer (4 inches or longer) and very thin (1/80 to 1/10 inch diameter). Types. Nematomorpha, horsehair or Gordian worms, include about 300 freshwater species in 22 genera (Gordiida) and 5 marine species in 1 marine genus (Nectonema). Depending on water temperature, the eggs hatch in 2 weeks to 3 months. Amazingly, the entire horsehair worm grew and developed as a parasite inside the body cavity of crickets and other large insects such as grasshoppers, katydids, beetles and cockroaches.

They turn yellowish-tan to brownish-black after a short period of time.

According to Greek legend, King Gordius of Phrygia tied a complicated knot. The Gordius worm is a parasite of crickets and other arthropods, but not of humans. Alexander the Great was not able to untie the knot so he cut through it with his sword. Life cycle of horsehair worms. They are beneficial because of the small percentage of crickets that they kill. Adults … This internal parasite of insects does not harm humans, animals or plants. They can appear in toilets, around sinks and any place the dead insect may be discarded. Experts do not recommend pesticides to treat horsehair worms. These harmless, curious creatures writhe slowly, contorting their hair-like bodies into intricate knots.Horsehair worms develop as parasites in the bodies of grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, and some beetles. Insects infected with horsehair worms die as a result of the parasite.Horsehair worms are white when they first emerge from the host's body. Since they are usually contorted into “knots”, the name Gordian worm was used by some. An example of a horsehair worm life cycle. These long, active worms may be observed during late summer or fall in streams and ponds, but are more commonly noticed in domestic water containers such as bird baths, swimming pools, water troughs, pet dishes, sinks, bathtubs and toilets.


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