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Gordian Worm/Horsehair Worm



Long vine-like living organism.


Found on the jungle floor near a stream in the Amazon rainforest of SE Ecuador.


At first I thought it was just a dead vine until I saw it start to move. I have no idea what it is, but it continued to move as long as I had it. It is definitely a living organism. I hope someone can tell me what it is or in which Phylum/Family to put it. Perhaps a Nematode?? Check out the YouTube video to the right that Mark Ridgeway sent.

No species ID suggestions


Tukup 2 months ago

Thanks Mark. In reading the article Google brought up first (, it sounds right. Thanks for the help both of you. Until a more knowledgeable Nematologist comes along, the job is yours :-) Finding that video is more impressive than me finding the worm. It's hard to believe all those worms could even fit in the mantid. Thanks.

Tukup 2 months ago

Thanks Hema. I see Horsehair worm is another name for the Gordian worm that Mark suggested. I think you're both right. I appreciate the help.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 2 months ago

Yes that's a common name for them Hema. There's also a wonderful video here showing how 'zombie' mantids are driven to water where the worms leave the host body.

Hema 2 months ago

horse hair worm?

Tukup 2 months ago

Sorry Mark. I missed this comment somehow. Thanks for tracking the link down. It gives me someplace to start. I appreciate it.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 2 months ago

Here's one found in Ecuador https://askentomologists.files.wordpress...

Tukup 2 months ago

Mark, thanks a lot. That's the first clue I've received and it does look like the pictures on Wiki's nematode page. I thought I had searched for nematodes, but I must have missed it. Great!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 2 months ago

Possibly a Gordian worm... distantly related to nematodes.

Tukup 2 months ago

Mauna and Zlatan - I see you both agree that it is strange. Would that be the Genus or Family?? :-)

Family: Weird
Genus: Strange
species: sp

Strange indeed. I almost threw it away until I saw it move.

mauna Kunzah
mauna Kunzah 2 months ago

Like something straight out of Alien.

Zlatan Celebic
Zlatan Celebic 2 months ago

very strange thing, indeed...

Morona Santiago, Ecuador

Lat: -2.15, Long: -77.69

Spotted on May 17, 2005
Submitted on Jan 27, 2019

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