groenejj
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Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing water

I had a bunch of rain in my area over the weekend and now have some standing water in one of my little drainage trenches. I know... standing water is bad, and I'll do something about it.

In the meantime, just since yesterday, I've noticed thousands of these small black worms that just appeared all of a sudden.

I was wondering if someone can help identify them. They look comparable to a leech, they even flatten out when I poke them with a bit of straw. The water is maybe 1 inch deep in the photo.

Thanks for your help. This is my first post here.

JR
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applestar
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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leach in standing wate

Where are you located? That might give us a clue.

I don't even know what leeches look like "in person" but these do seem like they have a sucker like end that could be the mouth end don't they?

If they didn't, I would wonder if they were slugs.

Are they getting bigger?
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groenejj
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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

I'm located near Dayton Ohio. They do actually have a bit of a sucker head... I just can't wrap my mind around them being leeches though. Don't leeches feed off blood? And there was no water there before the rains...

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

Yeah it seems more likely to be larvae of something. Mosquito larvae just appear in any little bit of standing water like that, because the mosquito lays her eggs there, but they are not usually so dark. Black fly larvae are in water like that too. But I don't know what these are.
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applestar
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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

Especially this time of the year, migrating birds will happily wade and bathe in any available standing water they can find, so I think there's a chance that unusual water denizens could get transported as eggs or larvae either on their feet or feathers or in poop.

...maybe these are -what are they called?- "flukes"? Let me go look that up.
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groenejj
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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

So I checked this morning to see if they were getting bigger and they are ALL GONE. The water has receded to about half of it's original breadth and depth, but still remains. It did dip into the high 30°F range last night.

I did a bit of research and the closest thing I could find was the sewer fly larvae. I've had those once before in a backed up basement sewer, but I remember them being a little smaller.

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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

Leeches prefer muddy and weedy/reedy areas of lakes and ponds. They're the favorite food of many fish. In the winter they burrow deep into the mud then return when the water heats up. Where you found them doesn't sound like a leech's habitat so although I'm not 100% sure, I don't believe they're leeches.

groenejj
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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

Do you think that these worms haven't in fact disappeared, and are just burrowed into the mud where it is warmer?

indepspirit
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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

They could be sludge worms. They will burrow in the ground and show up when water is present. They usually live in the sediment of river beds and lakes but have been known to show up in sewer lines and stagnant water.

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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

Just wanted to point out, there are some leeches that suck on plants. But I doubt these are leeches.

groenejj
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Re: Identify mystery small black worm/leech in standing wate

When I look up sludge worms, they don't have quite the same body and coloring I'm seeing in the pictures... this is a tricky one.

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