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Parasitic Worm, Reason to Worry?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by BlackCat, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. BlackCat

    BlackCat Arachnoknight

    (Asking about my T's so I have put it in the Tarantulas section. Sorry if it belongs under 'True Spiders')

    A wolf spider I've been letting hang around for a while, let it eat escaped crickets and basically act as pest control in my T room was found in a death curl in the middle of the floor.

    I checked to see if it was still alive and it was so I figured it was probably just thirsty. I put it in a container with some water and it ran to drink right away, problem solved, right? WRONG

    I kept an eye on it and a little while later the water just suddenly went cloudy white (I knew that could only be bad). A few minutes later a long, thin, pink worm emerged from under the spider, and the spider went quickly into a death curl. WTF? :confused:

    While this was really interesting, and kind of sad to see, I'm concerned now as this did happen in the room where all of my spiders are kept. This leads me to have to ask... first off, what was that? should I be concerned for my T's? if so, what action should be taken if any?
  2. PhobeToPhile

    PhobeToPhile Arachnoknight

    First and most important question: Did the spider ever, EVER have access to any of your Ts? Second, do you still have the worm and can you provide a good, high res pic of it? Third, do you have the cloudy water and can you examine it under a microscope? Doesn't sound to me like it was nematodes (nematodes are white not pink last time I checked, and definitely not long and thin), but it would be nice to be able to rule that out definitively.

    Now, this is just my personal opinion, but it sounds to me an awful lot like the spider was infected with a water-transmitted parasite of some kind. I have a hunch if you had a water source out there, the spider would have died in it and releasted its payload on its own (in fact, this sounds EXACTLY like what happened once it was exposed to water). I would say the white cloud was eggs, but I don't know what the worm was, if it had been fertilized before infecting the spider, or if it could have had two simultaneous infections both of which were water transmitted.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  3. BlackCat

    BlackCat Arachnoknight

    The spider was on the carpet when I saw it in a death curl so I assume the worm was already working its way out and working on killing the spider. Also, the white cloudy stuff I figured would have been the spider's body fluids. It seemed to me that the spider ran for the water instinctual as a means to survive, it was also fresh water in the container, as it was basically a quickly constructed ICU no different from what I would do for my T's.

    However, if you think it was a water based parasite, that worries me being that my cat's water dish is close by. =/

    It never would have had direct access to any of my T's since they are all kept very secure in their enclosures, no holes big enough for anything that size to get in.

    Thanks for your reply!

    Photo (deceased)
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  4. PhobeToPhile

    PhobeToPhile Arachnoknight

    Well, I'm almost certain it was the water that drew out the worm, but I have no other clue. How about bringing this pic and your story to the ATS? It might help to get answers from a few different sources.
  5. Ictinike

    Ictinike Arachnobaron

    Wow could that be a Horsehair Worm?

    I've never seen one in person but have seen videos of them coming out of other insects though I thought they were more black colored in nature.

  6. hassman789

    hassman789 Arachnobaron

    Oh my god, thats insane. very interesting but still not good. I would quarentine that thing. I'll be watching this thread to see what other people think it is. But that thing is scary, I can't believe it came out of a wolf spider! What part of the body did it come out of the spider?
  7. Ictinike

    Ictinike Arachnobaron

    Now I'm almost thinking for sure this was a Horsehair Worm

    Per http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/e614horsehair.html

  8. PhobeToPhile

    PhobeToPhile Arachnoknight

    Well, looks like you were lucky-so long as the spiders never had acess to the same source that infected the wolfy, you should be okay if ictinike is correct. What you described does match the MO of the horsehair...
  9. NikiP

    NikiP Arachnobaron

    Gross, gross, gross!
  10. BlackCat

    BlackCat Arachnoknight

    Wow thanks guys, that is really crazy! I guess the lil wolf spider didn't stand a chance either way, but good to know that my T's are safe from that, and the cat is safe too lol.

    Definitely sounds like a horsehair worm from the article, and it looks a lot like one of them in a pic on Wikipedia.
  11. netmare

    netmare Arachnopeon

    Mmmm, Pasta!!

  12. mOtOjUnKiE

    mOtOjUnKiE Arachnopeon

  13. proper_tea

    proper_tea Arachnobaron

    Gotta say... scary for your Ts... but awesome that you got to see it happen when the worm came out.

    Man... nature is so twisted... especially the world of inverts. Kinda why it's cool... huh?
  14. Crows Arachnids

    Crows Arachnids Arachnoknight

    Size matters!

    How large was the spider, and more importantly, how long is that worm?
  15. BlackCat

    BlackCat Arachnoknight

    The spider was only about an inch. As for the worm.. in the pic, the part of its body that is in a knot would be about the diameter of a dime. No idea how long it was though.