Glow Worm Cave, New Zealand

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Glow Worm Cave, New Zealand

Arachnocampa Luminosa- A Species Unique To New Zealand:
Waitomo is world legendary for the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and more prominently the New Zealand glowworm. But what actually are these creature insects and why do they shine?


What Is A Glowworm?

A glowworm is the bug’s stage in the lifecycle of a two-winged creature. It grows as long as a matchstick and seems a bit like a maggot (larva). There are several unique and unusual kinds of glowworm. The one we find in New Zealand is arachnocampa luminosa. 'Arachno' means spider-like, which denotes to the way glowworms catch flying creature like spiders do. 'Campa' means larva and 'luminosa' means light- generating.


Why And How They Glow:

A glowworm show its glow to magnetize food and to burn off its waste. Its tail sparks because of bioluminescence, which is a response between the chemicals given off by the glowworm and the oxygen in the air. This chemical reaction creates light, which the glowworm can control by dropping the oxygen to the light organ. Flies and other flying creature attract towards the light and get trapped in the sticky lines that the glowworm hangs down to catch food. Glowworms also show their glow to put other creatures off eating them.


Why They Are Found In Caves:

Glowworms can stay alive only in very wet, dark places where their light can be seen. They need a roof that is fairly much horizontal from which they can dangle their sticky feeding lines, and a sheltered place where wind does not dry them out or knot their lines. The Waitomo Glowworm Caves provide a perfect atmosphere with an abundance of insects brought into the cave from the river.


Glowworm Lifecycle:

​​Waitomo is world renowned for the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and more prominently the New Zealand glowworm. But what actually are these unusual creatures and why do they shine?



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