Finding Creativity in Everything.

5 Things That Will Blow Your Mind About Glowworms

Before you read this post, do yourself a favor and google some pictures of glow worms. 

Glowworm Caves, McLaren Falls Park

Cool huh?

Well, here are some facts about the glowworm that are sure to blow your mind!

1. Glowworms aren’t really worms

That’s right! Their name is a lie. Glowworms are actually cave-dwelling maggots! (No one is terribly fond of that name, however, and glowworm sounds so much more romantic, so here we are.)

Waikiki, New Zealand glowworms

They are technically fungus gnats in their larvae stage. However, I think we can all agree that “fungus gnat” is extremely unappealing, so the name “glowworm” is much more commonly used.

2. They have a second (prettier) name

New Zealand glowworms hang from pitch-black cave ceilings and glow like little stars, (hence the Maori name titiwai,) to give wandering insects the false impression of an escape from the dark cave. Instead, the glowworm snares and eats the insects.

3. They hunt like spiders

Glow-worms’ snares of sticky threads

Poor, unfortunate mosquitos will meander into a cave inhabited by glowworms, see the light, think it’s a way out, and fly toward it, only to get themselves stuck.

Glowworms spin a silk thread to hang down from the ceiling and catch the confused insects, then it sucks up the thread and eats whatever creature got stuck there!

Sound familiar?

4. They make cocoons like butterflies

Even glow worms go through that teenage phase where they shut themselves in their rooms to wait out their body transformations. Except that, where I locked my bedroom door and played Evanescence on a portable CD player on repeat, the less melodramatic glow worms opt out of social interaction altogether and make a cocoon around themselves until adulthood.

Joseph Michael’s New Zealand glow-worms

When they emerge from their chrysalis, they become an adult fly, more similar in appearance to a common mosquito than a housefly (and far less attractive than butterflies, sadly).

5. Adulthood seeps the life out of them

In a surprisingly relatable turn of events, adulthood rapidly shortens the glowworm’s lifespan.

Unfortunately, when they reach maturity, their lives will only last a few more days.

Their digestive systems are designed for slurping up mosquitos like ramen noodles in the larva stage, but because the adult flies do not form mouths, they can no longer eat.

So the adult flies starve to death in days.

They have just enough time to find a mate and reproduce before keeling over from exhaustion and starvation.

New Zealand glowworm caves

Next time you are planning a vacation to New Zealand or Australia, you MUST plan out a trip to see these amazing creatures, dwelling peacefully in the caverns of the jungle. As an added bonus, now you can impress your friends with your knowledge of the Arachnocampa luminosa, the glowworm!

However, be aware that most places will not allow you to take photo or video while in the caves, so if you’re going just to spruce up your Insta, put away the phone and simply take in the beauty of these fascinating flies instead.

Thank you for reading 5 Things That Will Blow Your Mind About Glowworms!

Kia ora!

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