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unknown strange worm - Phereoeca uterella

unknown strange worm - Phereoeca uterella
La Jolla, UCSD, California, USA
December 6, 2006
Size: 1/2"-3/4"
umm... Over the course of two or three days, this thing moved up a doorframe, out of the bathroom, and across the hall up a wall. Which is when we realized it wasn't just a random thing of dirt or lint or whatever.

It's a wormy thing, in what looks to be a cocoon, covered in lint and possibly dirt. It can hang from what looks like absolutely nothing which I'm assuming is a clear thread like spider webs. It moves by sticking its head out the front hole of the cocoon thingie and crawls along (it has teeny legs), sort of tweaking/popping the shell behind it to move that too. My apartment mates and I have absolutely no idea what it is and don't know if there's anyone on campus who can ID it. Any clues? (Sorry for any incoherent rambling... it's finals week...)

Images of this individual: tag all
unknown strange worm - Phereoeca uterella unknown strange worm - Phereoeca uterella


Household casebearer.
This is a caterpillar called the household casebearer. Apparently they feed on spider webs. There are a few online factsheets about them, and I would suggest consulting those and any other .edu or .gov websites that are devoted to this insect.

Thanks! That's good to know.
Thanks! That's good to know. Now we're wondering what it's doing in San Diego when there's like zero humidity...

You might try UC Riverside, where they have an entomology department:-)

Or maybe
our guide page. Our images seem to be divided between Southern California and Florida. There's a nice page provided by the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.

As I understand it they eat just about any dead stuff of animal origin.

confused about similar bug
I had something that looked very similar to this stuck fast to my wall, out in the open. I live in Scottsdale, AZ. However, my apartment complex has some pine trees and grass, and generally non-desert-related plants. The only difference is that the case looked similar to this, but the worm that appears in these photos was not present. Instead, a TINY TINY little worm, about the size of an ant, fell out of the case. Other TINY worms just like this were also writhing around up by the ceiling and in a small crack in the wall, but without any case. Is this still the same bug?? I was quite disgusted so I destroyed the case immediately, so I have no photo unfortunately. Any info would help!

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