Green Glows by Rudi Bright

The twinkling goblin green light of our native Glow worm deserves a place on your list of things to see in 2014. Last summer I did a Glow worm survey at 3 sites in Glamorgan (1. Oldcastle Down, 2. Ogmore Down, 3. Parc Slip Nature Reserve). I spent a month wandering around my sites (with my Dad) after dark looking for glowing females (and a month yawning at my desk in school).

Glow worm larvae Mike Bright

Glow worm larvae Mike Bright

We managed to record 22 glowing females across the 3 sites. I hope to carry out the survey every year to get a better idea of my local Glow worm population.

The Glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca) belongs to a family of beetles known as Lampyridae. As the name suggests, Glow-worms are able to emit light from their bodies by means of a reaction between two chemicals, luciferin and luciferase. The light is emitted from the tip of the underside of the abdomen as a green glow.

The adult females use the light to attract males although the larvae, eggs and adult males can also produce a glow but this is not as bright as that of the females.

Glow worms can be very difficult to find so your best chance of recording them are during the glowing season. If you want to record Glow worms you should go out into suitable habitat (unimproved grassland/downland/canal towpaths/disused railway lines etc) between mid-June and mid-July.

They are best seen on moonless or overcast nights between 10 and 11pm. You are more likely to see one if you let your eyes adjust to the dark so you can wander around without using a torch. If you do find any of these special insects please report sightings to your local wildlife records office and the UK Glow worm Survey.

 

I will leave you with a little poem a friend found for me –

I wish I was a glow worm
A glow worm’s never glum
How can you be grumpy
When the sun shines out your bum?!
Rudi Bright