The larva of an enigma moth is more commonly known as a riddling worm or riddleworm. They thrive on riddles, puzzles, and conundrums posed by others, but aren’t able to pose any of their own. They tend to congregate in bookstores, libraries, college campuses, and debating societies. Anyone who’s ever handled an old book of riddles has probably seen their empty egg casings and the spidery filaments of doubt they leave behind.

Once enough small riddles–or perhaps just one great corker of a riddle–have been devoured, the riddleworm will spin a cocoon from the threads of stories and pupate, emerging as an enigma moth. They are so named because they must pose an enigma before the end of their ephemeral life, requiring the ensuing raw confusion to lay their eggs much in the same way that the riddleworms feed on it.

Enigma moths whisper their conundrums quietly but so insistently that most cannot help but hear.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!