Wild Fact #806 – A Very Bright Insect – Glow Worm

Happy Friday Everyone!  The weekend is here and I am ready for an exciting long weekend.  We are going to end the week with an insect. I know, ewww, but I promise it will be an “enlightening” fact. I remember having a toy when I was a kid called a Glow Worm.  This thing looked like a large worm with a hat and it would light up when you squeezed on it.  Today, we are going to look at the real life Glow Worm.  First we have to wait until night time since they are nocturnal and really what is the point of looking for a glowing animal during the day.

Now that it is dark out let’s look for some glowing insects.  I know they may look like worms but they are actually glowing insect larvae.  Glow worms are usually the larvae of certain beetles although there are some for flies as well.  They can be found living in woodlands and caves throughout the world, except for the Americas.  These hearty little Glow Worms can even survive above the Arctic circle which is pretty impressive.

So what is the point of having a rear-end that lights up? Well as usual, the light is used to attract a mate.  In other animals it is the male trying to attract their partner but not with the Glow Worm.  Nope, it is the female that will spend about two hours every night during mating season hoping to catch the eye of their male partner.  As you can imagine man-made structures such as street lights have caused some issues with this strategy.  I bet that male glow worm is confused when he goes to a street light hoping to find a potential mate.

The glow worm is usually about 1-2 inches in length and will survive for about 5 months.  During this time they tend to feed on snails and slugs but will also eat other insects.  As you can imagine a glowing bug has numerous predators including birds, spiders, larger insects, centipedes and reptiles. I guess being able to glow isn’t always a good thing.

Well that does it for me today!  Now let’s go and enjoy our long weekend.  Don’t forget to check back on Monday as Wild Facts doesn’t take holidays.

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