When I was replanting my mango tree to a bigger pot I found some weird, very small, worms crawling around in the now rotten mango seed. I made a macro picture of them which you can see here:

enter image description here

I also made a macro video, for my blog, were you can see them crawling around. You can find the video here: https://youtu.be/6jNTeVrTAtU. The last scene has most of them.

My question is, what kind of worm is this? Could this worm be of local origin (Swedish) or could it have infected the mango seed before being imported to Sweden and therefore originate from the country which produces the mangos?

I also found some kind of insect living together with the worm in the mango seed. You can see the macro picture below. I am not sure if this insect is related, but it was actually this insect I discovered first when repotting the tree. It was when searching for more of these insects, to remove them, when I discovered these worms.

enter image description here

I would say the insect was about 0.5 to 1 mm big and white/yellow:ish, the color is different in the picture as I tried to make it more visible. I think the worm was longer than the insect but much thinner. It would probably have been impossible for me to discover the worm at all if it wouldn’t have moved so much.

2 Answers 2


Another possibility.

Do you notice any tiny black flies (2-3 mm, a little smaller than fruit flies) around the plants? They could be sitting on the soil, leaves or window (if the plant's indoor). They're weak fliers, fluttering annoyingly about the plants, or you at night if your sitting by a lamp reading. If you have these tiny flies, the 'worms' in your soil would likely be their larvae.

When I watched your YouTube video, at 1:57, I saw one of them clearly against a white background waving its dark head about. Fungus gnat larvae gave dark heads and they can stretch out longer like earthworms can.

On the other hand, if you don't have a tiny black flies, it won't be their larvae. But because you found them in the rotting remains of the seed, the possibility of fungus gnats is high. Ungus gnat larvae feed on decaying plant matter and some feed on plant roots too. Remove the rotting seed whatever they are.

The mite looks very much like a Hypoaspis spp. but predatory soil mite species tend to look similar in colour and shape. What's nice is all will happily eat fungus gnat larvae.

  • I actually had a lot of small flies flying around the tree. Each time I watered the plant they came flying out from the gravel, which I have as a layer above the soil. Do you mean the larvae at 0:20 in the video which is in the upper right part, is very fat and seems to have a black head? Or did you see another one? You wrote 1:57, but I guess that is a typo as that is the end of the movie. Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 9:46
  • But from what I understand after searching on the internet Fungus gnats are supposed to have black heads, but the majority of the larvae in the movie are totally white. Could it be some early stage or some similar fly? Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 9:47
  • Yes, not 1:57 but at 1:10 I saw a black head waving about in the screen at the bottom right. It does look like there are fatter ones (fungus gnat larvae?) and longer thin ones (nematodes?). From your comment on lots of small flies flying out from the soil really confirms my conviction you have fungus gnats. Hopefully the predatory mites and nematodes (if they're predatory) will eat the larvae. But if you have lots, they can damage the mango's roots.
    – Jude
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 5:39
  • Take a look at Take a look at gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/1676/… and gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/22903/… The best control is to let the soil's top inch or two to dry out. The larvae will dry out too and die.
    – Jude
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 5:42

The wormlike things are most likely nematodes of some sort - whether they're friend or foe, I don't know - many are beneficial, some are parasitic on either insects or plants, but if your plant was healthy, they're unlikely to be a problem to your plant and are just a normal part of the soil population. No idea whether they originated from another country or not, they exist everywhere; more info here https://www.hunker.com/12319832/garden-pests-tiny-transparent-worms

The small insect appears to be one of the soil mites; some of these prey on nematodes, others just eat dead or organic material in soil; some mites illustrated here https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?p=7940096

UPDATE: I checked your other question on this plant, and agree with the diagnosis of mildew already given. Note it is entirely unrelated to the life forms described here which you found in the potting soil.

  • Unfortunately, the mango tree is not very healthy right now. I created a separate stackexchange question regarding the disease on the leaves. You can find it here: gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/32811/… Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 9:56
  • I agree its mildew, someone's already told you that in your other question - it is, though, entirely unrelated to the microfauna in the potting soil.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 11:35

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