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Hair Worms: Nematomorpha

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, No Common Name (paragordius Varius): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, HAIR WORMS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS


Hair worms live all over the world except Antarctica.

One type of hair worm lives in sea animals such as crabs and shrimp. The other type lives in insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles.

The worms that live in insects usually are found in slow-moving freshwater streams or ponds. In streams the worms are either attached to plants hanging over the banks or live between rocks on the bottom. In the sea, hair worms live anywhere from beaches to the sea floor.

Adult hair worms do not eat. Young worms absorb nutrients from their hosts.

Hair worms do not infect humans.


Masses of hair worms form large knots during mating. Hundreds of worms often can be found in a seemingly undoable tangle. For this reason, these worms sometimes are called Gordian worms. The Gordian knot was made by a mythical ruler who declared the person who untied it would be the leader of all Asia. Along came Alexander the Great, who sliced through the knot with one stroke of his sword.

Hair worms are not considered threatened or endangered.

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