Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Found in Sewer pipe


Gowth and Insect
Gowth and Insect  
QUESTION: There is an odd growth I have never seen attached to the wall of a city sewer pipe.  There are a number of insects throughout the same pipe and I was wondering if they are related. The growth's main mass is 1" in diameter and the insect length is about 0.5"

Just curious if you could tell me what they are.

ANSWER: Dear Nathan - Can you please resize and then resend your image? The one you sent occupied only a small fraction of the allowable window, and I cannot see any detail that would allow me to make an identification.

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QUESTION: Bigger pictures

ANSWER: Dear Nathan - The 'insects' actually are terrestrial crustaceans in the order Isopoda. Commonly known as sowbugs or pillbugs, they are harmless scavengers on decomposing organic matter, and require damp/humid conditions to persist in any environment - they breathe by means of gills that must be kept moist in order to function. See http://tinyurl.com/bm465xf for more information.
 The odd growth is unrelated, and appears to be fungal in nature.

Hope this helps,

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QUESTION: Could the other growth be a tubifex worm?

Dear Nathan - No, it would not be tubifex worms, as they are not found on walls, but always are submerged insome fashion - http://tinyurl.com/lfk47b. The filaments extending from your structure are what make me suspect it is fungal-related.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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