Tim Clerke’s mom found these horrifying things flittering around on her kitchen floor. Anyone who sees them would assume they are some sort of insect species native to Auckland, New Zealand, where the family is based. However, New Zealanders have no idea what they are.

Tim captioned the video: “My mother found these on the kitchen floor this morning. One is still alive. Anyone know what they are? Nikki is horrified and will have nightmares for weeks!”

As usual, Facebook worked its magic and the video has gone massively viral now. Opinions have been rolling in from entomologists all over the world. As expected, not everyone would believe the content of the video. The University of Auckland said the video was more or less an attention-seeking hoax, so they paid it no attention.

The first major hypothesis on the identity of the creatures came from Eric Edwards, an entomologist who believed them to be rat-tailed maggots (Eristalis tenax). Rat-tailed maggots are heavy-duty parasites [1]. An infestation of the body by these disgusting maggots can lead to gastrointestinal infections which manifest as biting pain in the abdomen. It is generally caused by a disease known as myiasis, characterized by the maggots feeding off the host’s body tissues and intestinal walls.

Facebook users weren’t of much help either.

 Some comments read [2]:

“Baby rats. Had it happen to us before, they were littered all over the fireplace, floor, etc…Gross.” Baby rats, without bodies? Really?

This one assumed the situation to be a hilarious one. “Tim, did they fall out of your pants?”

The next commenter seemed to be very sure of herself. She said, “Those are miniature bats. Duh!”

Tim Clerke obviously has a very imaginative mind. “I was thinking more alien,” he suggested,

Tim really should be a sci-fi movie script writer. “I don’t live with my mum but they may have fallen out of my beard last time I was over there. Beardlings!”

Replying to Nicole Clerke, Tim’s wife, this commenter had to creep her out all the more. “Whatever they are Nikki, they are in YOUR house. They could be in your bed, under the toilet seat, in your underwear drawer…”

The voice of reason in the mad charade. “You should contact MAF just in case, they like knowing about all this weird stuff and will definitely be able to identify what they are.”

This one had to rub it in their faces that they’ve gotten nowhere despite the fame. “Famous right around the world. Still no answers though.”

Facebookers aren’t ever going to change. Period.

The currently leading opinion

Speaking to Yahoo7, a spokesperson from the Biosecurity New Zealand team says they are the legs of a moth that had been eaten by something [3]. “They suggest that something (possibly a cat) had just recently eaten the body of the moth, which may explain why a few of the legs were still twitching,” he said.

Arthropod collector Sarah Tassell said, “If you look at the photos you can see that what you are looking are jointed legs. They are hairy and have some distinctive spines.”

References:

  1. Gastrointestinal symptoms resembling ulcerative proctitis caused by larvae of the drone fly Eristalis tenax. Desoubeaux et al. NCBI. April, 2014.
  2. Tim Clerke. Facebook. January 31, 2019.
  3. Experts divided over ‘alien-like’ creatures found crawling on kitchen floor. Olivia Lambert. Yahoo7. February 5, 2019.
  4. Myiasis. Francesconi and Lupi. NCBI. January 2012.
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