Can anyone identify this insect?


Believe me I’ve searched and searched the web and tried to go through the identification key chart things, but kept coming up empty. We found this in the house, and my girlfriend is kind of worried about it (mostly I guess because neither one of us has ever seen one before). I’ve told her I’m at least 90% percent sure it’s not any kind of termite (is it? :dubious: ), but it would really help if I could identify it. But as I said, I’ve come up empty thus far.

Please tell me it’s harmless :rolleyes:


Oh, by the way, it’s small: about 2-3 mm in length.

Maybe it’s a young earwig.

It looks like an earwig.

Or a termite worker. Harmless to you.
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Earwig: These look rather “plump,” or round, the insect in question is actually quite flat-looking. Also no sign of anything like the rear pinschers.

Termite worker: I saw the exact page you linked to, and thought that the sketch looked like it. But when you see actual photos, termites are whitish or cream-colored. Also, most descriptions say they resemble maggots (I’ve seen termites before and remember thinking they looked like maggots). Also, no tubes around anywhere.

It most closely resembes:

  1. An earwig.
  2. A louse.

Young earwigs don’t necessarily have well developed cerci.

I’ll hunt around for some photos.

Louse photos
Earwig photos

Looks a lot like a head louse.

Head lice are much smaller than 2-3mm though, and they’re lacking those projections on the posterior abdomen.

Human Lice and Scabies

I agree it kind of looks like a louse of some sort, but the pictures you refer to (and others I’ve seen) have a couple of problems, namely that lice lack the small rearward projections on the posterior (as Q.E.D. mentioned), and the legs on my mystery insect seem set further back on the body. Also, the louse’s coloration doesn’t seem to fit (although I realize it may vary), and the body shape (where the abdomen often flares toward the posterior) doesn’t fit either. The insect in question is relatively “rectangular” in this regard.

This is a puzzle.

Not an earwig.
Not a termite.
Not a louse.

The pictures DO resemble my boss’s kids. Will check google…

Also noticed something else, seemingly ruling out a louse. . .my bug has three distinct thorax sections, each with its own pair of legs, while the louse appears to have fewer thorax sections (and smaller) in favor of a larger abdomen area.

I had no idea it would be this difficult. I thought for sure someone here would know right away. Possibly the right person hasn’t seen it yet. . .any exterminators or entomologists around here? :slight_smile:

It looks kind of like a thrip larva, but the antennae don’t seem quite long enough in the picture. It’s the right size though.

After considering the idea that it was some weird form of immature silverfish, I think I’m leaning towards *Terrifel’s suggestion. The ilverfish might still be a possibility, but again the short antennae and rear bristles make it seem unlikely ( though it would almost have to be an immature based on size and that might effect the appearance - I’m no expert on silverfish ).

It looks a lot like some sort of Mayfly larva as well, but I guess that’s unlikely in your home :).

  • Tamerlane

Springtail is another possibility.

Some more springtail pics.

It’s a tingler.

If it were a springtail, you should notice it jumping. Perhaps a booklouse? (which isn’t actually a louse):

I love bug ID’ing, but GAWDS, I have a serious case if the heebie jeebies right now. Yurk…

I’m currently leaning towars booklouse, but it may also be an immature form of a beetle or some other critter along those lines.

Here are some booklouse pics (warning big!)

booklouse drawing

hi res pic

Looking at these two pics, I’m not too sure about the booklouse hypothesis anymore. The thorax seems too wide for a booklouse. In you pics it’s wider than it’s head, but these lice pics show a thorax that is narrower, and about equal, respectivly.

I can’t find anything else, and I really need sleep, so I think that I am out of ideas. Hopefully someone will come up with the right anwer.

Oh, and I’m sure it’s harmless… unless it bores into your brain while you sleep at night. Then it may become a problem. :smiley: