What are they?

They look like long, very thin, hair-like worms. Stretched out to full length they are about 7 to 10 cm (2.75 to 4 inches) long. Diameter is like a thick human hair, or sewing thread. Mostly black but with very light coloured ends. Following a short, heavy rain this morning there were dozens of these critters on the surface of the garden, many of them around the young cabbage plants. Although they may have been there, in all our years of gardening, we've never noticed anything like this before. Any ideas?
Ross. Southern Ontario, Canada. New AgCanada Zone 5b 43º17'15" North 80º13'32" West To email, remove the obvious from my address.
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<RR> wrote in message

the other...(:-o)!).
Try these sites: http://www.californiagardens.com/Plant_Pages/bipalium_kewense.htm http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/misc/land_planarians.htm
Dusty San Jose, Ca.

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Hi Dusty,
Thanks for the reply. Even using a magnifying glass these things don't have a "spade" end. Both ends are lighter in colour than the remainder of the body and taper to a point. Also, a description in one of your provided links states "They are about the diameter of an earthworm.....". The ones in our garden are smaller than the diameter of Trilene XL, 2 pound test monofilament fishing line.
Ross. Southern Ontario, Canada. New AgCanada Zone 5b 43º17'15" North 80º13'32" West To email, remove the obvious from my address.
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Hmmm. Okay. Sounds like I'm off base.
But, I've handled them. And while they're (a thin) "earth worm" diameter when in the hand, they do stretch and can get very thin when extended. Although, at least in my experiences with them, they got about as thin as an automatic pencil lead, but not as thin as "Triline" or something like that...
Oh well. It was a stab in the dark. I hope you get the answer you need. And when you do, please post it here so that I might learn about them as well...
Later, Dusty San Jose
<RR> wrote in message

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wrote:

When I lived in Minnesota, which has more or less the same climate, sometimes we'd see these critters, tho usually a bit larger than yours -- about the thickness of monofilament fishing line, but up to 6" long; you could barely make out a "head" if you squinted. Black or near-black in colour. They aren't "stretchy" like earthworms, and they aren't slimey. Sound like your creatures?
We called them "hair snakes". They seem to be completely harmless -- they don't visibly eat anything and they don't bite. I suspect they may be some sort of leech or flatworm.
~REZ~
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RR said:

I've seen these once, after a heavy rain. I think they may be horsehair worms, a parasitic worm of insects.
http://muextension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/pests/g07710.htm http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/struct/ef613.htm
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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snipped-for-privacy@someplace.net.net (Pat Kiewicz) wrote:

Thanks, Pat. I do believe you've hit the nail squarely on the head. The description in your links matches these critters to a "T". Glad to learn that they're beneficial.
Ross. Southern Ontario, Canada. New AgCanada Zone 5b 43º17'15" North 80º13'32" West To email, remove the obvious from my address.
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Kiewicz) wrote:

From the online description, those are indeed what we called "hair snakes" in Minnesota.
~REZ~
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I wrote:

And, the winner is: Pat in MI, who provided the following links which describe "my" critters perfectly. They're Horsehair Worms, aka Gordian Worms. http://muextension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/pests/g07710.htm http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/struct/ef613.htm Very pleased to know they are beneficial. Did you see this Dusty?
Ross. Southern Ontario, Canada. New AgCanada Zone 5b 43º17'15" North 80º13'32" West To email, remove the obvious from my address.
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<RR> wrote in message ...

Dusty ...
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