Glow worm Caves

Glow worm Caves
See above: A typical glow worm cave
Glow Worm Caves

What are Glow Worms?

Glow worms, which they're known commonly as are insect larvae that glow through bioluminescense. Bioluminescense is the production and emission of light by living organisms. The name is derived from the greek word bios which is "living" and the Latin word lumen which is "light". Bioluminescense in glow worms is a naturally occuring form of chemiluminescence - where energy is released by a chemical reaction in the form of light emission.

Where can I find Glow worms?

Glow worms can be seen in glow worm caves around the world. Australia and New Zealand have the largest array of glow worm caves, and they're a great tourist attraction - especially for the kids!

Biological context

Although glow worms are commonly referred to as mystical glowing creatures, it's important not to forget that they are in fact still insects(Arachnocampa and Orfelia). Because of this, they have survival and predatory instincts that are observable. For example, the Arachnocampa and Orfelia larvae glow to attract small prey like midges and flies, which they lure into sticky snare lines which the larvae then feed on. On the other hand, some female glow worms produce a glow to attract males for mating. Even more interestingly, the Lampyridae larvae glow as a warning signal to predators like toads - which would do well to stay away as the Lampyridae family are midly toxic.

History of Glow worms and Glow worm Caves

Glow worms have dazzled man for thousands of years. These small creatures were not only discussed by scientists, but often appeared in literature, prose and poetry, and also played a prominent part in folklore and medicinal remedies. Glow worms may have been the first luminescent animal to be recorded in literature. Ancient scriptures dating as far back as 1500 -1000 B.C. are said to contain appearances of these mysterious insects. It is only in recent years that habitats have been specifically created for them. Glow worm caves provide the worms with damp dark places in which they can spin snares of their hanging silken threads, effectively entrapping unsuspecting prey like mosquitos and flies.