Creatures from the Sewer

The latest viral video is from the sewer under Cameron Village in Raleigh, NC.  The mysterious creatures found are nothing short of disgusting and spectacular.  This video has made its way to Video Sift and various cryptozoology sites.  Speculations on the nature of this creature run from bryozoans, cnidarians, slime molds, and some mysterious alien creature here to suck out our brains. Well let me say first that it is none of the above. I can think of no freshwater Cnidarian that looks anything like this.  It lacks the characteristic delineations that would indicate individual zooids in the colony and frankly the retracting of finger-like tentacles doesn’t seem like a bryozan characteristic (see the pictures at this site). In fact, I have poked a lot of invertebrates as lab instructor for invertebrate zoology and as a graduate student just for shits and giggles and none of the mentioned candidates would respond like this. So back to square one…

You shouldn’t trust me however…you should trust an expert in one of the aforementioned groups.  Enter stage right Dr. Timothy S. Wood who is an expert on freshwater bryozoa and an officer with the International Bryozoology Association.  I sent along the video and this was his reponse…

Thanks for the video – I had not see it before. No, these are not bryozoans!  They are clumps of annelid worms, almost certainly tubificids (Naididae, probably genus Tubifex). Normally these occur in soil and sediment, especially at the bottom and edges of polluted streams. In the photo they have apparently entered a pipeline somehow, and in the absence of soil they are coiling around each other. The contractions you see are the result of a single worm contracting and then stimulating all the others to do the same almost simultaneously, so it looks like a single big muscle contracting. Interesting video.

More video of Tubifex

Dr. M (1773 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

156 comments on “Creatures from the Sewer
  1. Pingback: There's a WHAT is the sewer system?! - My Les Paul Forums

  2. Pingback: wtf are they? - Order of the Blue Gartr

  3. Pingback: Kill it with fire. - SECTalk Forums

  4. Pingback: Weird Sewer Creature | Up Till One

  5. It’s not a colonoscopy film. There are concrete walls in the video. I don’t think it’s Tubifax worms either, but I haven’t really looked.

  6. Pingback: Mare Magnum | La criatura de las alcantarillas de Carolina del Norte

  7. Pingback: Triangle Roundup – July 1, 2009 | Reinventing Yourself...

  8. The minority. Which is probably still large enough to sell videos to for a nice profit.

  9. if they are not 2 different species in these videos, they are in different stages of life. the sewer blob looks like a slimy hive. you can see it contracting and expanding with the whole blob.explain the barb looking “nail”. very interesting indeed

  10. Clearly the videographer here is not trained in zoology – otherwise we’d have images of the whole blob in a jar of formalin! Identification would then be much easier.

  11. Doesn’t look the same to me. It seems like they would prefer to be under the water as opposed to being just above the water line. The clump in the top video seems to be very solid or is it covered with a layer of slime?

  12. Pingback: Disgusting Sewer Creature Update: IT’S F#$%ING REAL! [Science] | MyElectronicsGuide

  13. Someone needs to remove one of these clumps and dig into it with a knife so that we can get another video. Or better yet, go down there and cut into it “in situ”. Now that would be fun to see.

  14. Chris, it’s definitely not a colonoscopy. Have you ever seen one of those before? Just look at google it and look at the images, it looks NOTHING like this video.

  15. Pingback: New Life Form found in Sewer? - MONTREALRACING

  16. Pingback: Freaky in Raleigh! «

  17. Chris
    It is certainly NOT a colonoscopy film. I hope you were joking and we just didn’t get your humor. Otherwise duh.

  18. Pingback: Desayunando en la alcantarilla con tubifex - Ojo Cientifico

  19. Pingback: Unknown Lifeform in North Carolina Sewer -

  20. Has anyone considered a mutated variety of sea slug? That would explain the existence in the sewers, and the wierd brain-ishness. It’s possible it was exposed to air and evolved to undergo this strange mutation.

  21. Pingback: Update: Sewer Monster is Not Viral Marketing, Still Creepy. | -- My favorite Horror Movie blog for OVER NINE THOUSAND years running.

  22. Pingback: Disgusting sewer monster in NC- we're all doomed. - Cadillac Owners Group

  23. Pingback: Twitted by PinkTentacle

  24. Pingback: Disgusting Sewer Creature Update: IT’S F#$%ING REAL! | Gizmodo Australia

  25. Pingback: Alien ?

  26. Pingback: Adopting Two July Webkinz! :D | Webkinz Ganz World

  27. Pingback: Disgusting Sewer Creature Update: IT’S F#$%ING REAL! [Science] | Today News, Technology, Wordpres

  28. Pingback: Twitted by CatrinHedstrom

  29. I hope your colonoscopy doesn’t look like this chris.. but if it does, i suppose you could always profit off it through folks like mr magoo…

  30. Unfortunately the video material isn’t of high quality, but it seems like these “things” are not individual Worms moving. I’m a computer science student and have NO clue about biology at all. The only thing I can do is perform an analysis on the video material itself. As much as I’ve seen yet (with bare eyes) the surface structure stays relatively intact before and after contractions. In that Tubifex video above I saw individual worms slowly “breaking out of the formation” at times though. Further I didn’t see that much slime in the Tubifex video. That slime must be of protective nature I think. Guess one species cannot adapt so fast (produce slime the next day)…

  31. Pingback: Twitted by dek_1

  32. Pingback: Sewer Monster Turns Out To Be Tubifex tubifex | Doodie Pants

  33. Woah, freaky stuff. Very cool. It’s spooky the way it all contracts, and it totally reminds me of those brain sucker things from… some old video game… I can’t remember. But the screen used to go green and it would suck your health out when they jumped on you.

  34. Pingback: Mutant Goo in the Sewers | A Schooner of Science

  35. Pingback: cleek » Throbbing Underground Monsters

  36. Pingback: Una colonia de anélidos en el desagüe | eleZeta - Blog personal de Lucas Zallio

  37. Pingback: Confusion In The Sewers! « What’s All This, Then?

  38. Pingback: Calling the SyFy Network (again)…. « The B-Masters Cabal

Comments are closed.