Going down memory lane, I remember about 1972, I had been fishing in Arrowhead Bay off Lake Mohawksin in the back of our house on Pleasant Ave. Among the pan fish, and mostly weeds, wrapped around my bobber was this “ skinny black thing”. It was about 15” long or so, very thin like buttonhole thread, no head nor tail (now to be determined to be female I believe)
I ran into the house, and my mother thought I was playing a joke tried and to cut it in half with her butcher knife. Before I could stop her, and after she hacked it, it curled in a tiny ball, she flipped back on her chair, screamed, and from that point on believed me it was no joke. She never did cut through it, but did leave a white scar as it grew.
The Tomahawk Leader ran a short write up about it, the DNR had never seen such a creature, and classified it as some sort of “thread Eel” a little girl discovered, and sent it off to the University of WI never to be heard or seen from again.
During that summer, I obtained 2 more in the same area, and we kept them together in a mason jar. They would both curl together in a tiny black ball at night almost as a knot, and in the day swim quite freely around their jar and entwine in the seaweed. These next 2 were caught wrapped in seaweed, so we assumed that’s what they ate. They stayed alive a good 3 months until one morning we woke up and were dead. At that time we determined must had been some larvae or something in the pond water that must have killed them. Now I realize they must have needed a host, or they just ran out their parasitic lifecycle in the jar.
Through the years, I never did find anymore, and I did search for them until we moved from there. I grew to find them fascinating, but have always been a mystery, and thought I discovered a new life form.
Thanks to google, I thought I would now try and find these little living threads could be. Well, NOT Thread Eels, but a parasite that lives in crickets! Yikes! They are extremely rare, and not supposed to be found in WI at all. In fact, from what I have been finding, it is rare to find in the wild at all by people, so I guess I had been fortunate to discover these.
The ones I found had neither head nor tail, no head, mouth, pinchers, nothing and were black. Could not tell the front from the back, and looked like black, buttonhole thread that moved. I believe these to be females, as the pictures show the males with a mouth. Maybe they were same or a variation of them? Has anyone else ever found these?
Here are some links to the closet thing I could find, but mine were dark black, and no head or mouth, skinny.