Question I found a strange insect on my patient's blanket this week in a nursing home. It was all tan with no markings. It had a singular body with no other separate parts (like a head and back end). It had 6 legs that were somewhat longer and it stood on them. The body almost resembled a piece of a Pringle. It was thin and slender and curved upwards in a half-moon shape. Please help. We have searched and searched and have not been able to find ANYTHING on it. Thank you!
It sounds as if you are describing some kind of insect larva. It is virtually impossible to identify larvae in the absence of at least an image, ideally the actual specimen. I'm sorry that I cannot help from your description alone.
Many insect larvae found indoors are "stored product pests" of one kind or another that feed on dried pet food or other dried animal material, including wool blankets and garments.
Next time you see an insect, collect the specimen intact and take it to a local entomologist at a natural history museum, university entomology department, state department of agriculture office, or even the public health department (vector control division should have at least one staff entomologist). He or she can then put the creature under a microscope and render an accurate ID.
I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.
Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.
Publications Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.
Education/Credentials Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.
Awards and Honors One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.
Past/Present Clients Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.