Freeing a Gordian Worm from an Earwig

An earwig scurrying across your kitchen table instead of hiding in a dark crevice is a sure sign that something is wrong with it. After I crushed it, I knew immediately that the coiled white threads spilling out of it were not intestines.

They were parasites.

So I put it in a small bowl of water to watch them wriggle free of their host.

At first, they hardly moved. After a few minutes there were some telltale twitches that said that the “hairs” were alive on their own. And slowly, they began to loosen and unwind.

A video would do it more justice; I’m omitting a long sequence of pictures that show those subtle twitches.

It turned out to be two worms (unless my killing blow managed to cut a single worm in only one spot, almost perfectly in the middle).

They were longer than I thought they would be.

That small chunk floating in the middle left of the image is all that remained of the earwig’s internal organs.