Entomology (Study of Bugs)/small red worm?

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Question
I found a red worm under my pillow about an hour after I got up, when I went to make the bed. I am so sorry I don't have a picture. I scooped it up in a yogurt container and then thought of taking a picture. I placed the worm on a piece of white paper and realized my camera was across the room. By the time I returned (about 20 seconds max) the worm was gone.

Description: Curled S-shape like a worm. Very thin dark red body (about like string) with clear beigish appendages, either cilia or legs, all along its sides.About 3 inches in length, 1/4 inch in width counting the appendages. At one end (head or tail?) there was a triangular section of tissue, more pinkish than the rest. There is a plant about a foot away from the bed; it has been inside for four months.

Thank you for your help!

Answer

Hi, Tina:

Sounds like you are describing either a centipede or a millipede.  

Considering how fast it escaped, I am thinking a soil centipede in the order Geophilomorpha:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/21

These are not dangerous animals in any way.  I suppose it could have come in with the plant, as you surmise.  Not sure how else it could have found its way indoors.  These are normally subterranean creatures.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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