Animals

Bright Worm

The data is devastating: light in Spain is practically the most expensive in Europe. With the economic landscape that is coming to us, it is more than normal that we look for ways to save a little. And if you are not very apprehensive, nature gives us some very interesting options.

How about, for example, raising luminescent insects? We talk about the bioluminescence, the ability to produce light from certain organisms in a natural and cheap way. Although 80% of bioluminescent creatures inhabit the sea, some insects and worms also exhibit this ability.

And beyond the classic fireflies (which are increasingly scarce, everything is said), there are some species that can even be worth to read a book in the dark.

The "saltaperico" or Tucu-Tucus

Scientific name: Pyrophorus noctilucus.

Where does it shine? By two points behind his head.

And for what? To scare away their predators.

Frequent insect in Latin America, it receives different and nice names according to the region: cocuy, cucubano, night lamp or «saltaperico» (our favorite). The elaterid beetle Pyrophorus noctilucus not only has the greatest bioluminescence of all insects, but it is also the one with the largest bright surface: 45 mililamberts. The light is emitted by two points located in the thorax and is bright enough to read a book.

In this case, not only the animal shines, but also its eggs, to also avoid being eaten by other animals.

Fireflies

Scientific name: Lampyridae noctiluca.

Where does it shine? Abdomen.

And for what? As sexual references and aids in pairing.

The best known light insect. In this case it is the females that emit light, seeking to attract the attention of the males, who fly flying the territories looking for that light that indicates that they have a couple nearby. They are capable of generating that light through a special organ located in the lower abdomen, by a process of oxidation of carbon and hydrogen that occurs very quickly.

Railway worms

Scientific name: Phrixothrix phengodidae

Where does it shine? Head (red emission) and thorax (green emissions)

And because? To scare your enemies

And if there is a worm that uses its glare as a claim, others, like these larvae, use it to the contrary. In case some predator gets closer to the bill, the females use their brightness to baffle them and make them move away.

Scientific name: Pyrophorus noctilucus

Where does it shine?Whole body.

And for what?It remains an unknown.

And underwater we also find our friends aquatic insects (not to mention other similar crustaceans). In this case, the family of the Podurids, small and voracious, also have luminous organs. The aquatic variety is obviously prepared for life at sea ... but it also has light capabilities.

Bioluminescence not only serves as a defense or signaling mechanism between individuals of the same species, but also has the ability to influence the behavior of others. It is also the case of Chiroteuthis, a deep-sea squid that has photophores at the tip of the tentacles imitating a bait, so that moving them like a fishing rod attracts prey.

Luminous Worm

Scientific name: Arachnocampa bright.

Where does it shine? By the kidney.

And for what? To attract their prey.

A species native to New Zealand, which also abounds in Australia. The larvae of this type of mosquito also use their luminosity to attract other insects and devour them, making thin vertical filaments of silk with a sticky mucosa. When the prey is attracted by the brightness of its attacker, it is caught between the threads and then the worm goes up the thread as if it were a fishing rod.

And although it may seem a very weak light, they usually accumulate in caves, giving rise to a certainly picturesque spectacle that illuminates the room.

Facts Bright Worm

Gloss worm is the common name for several different groups of larvae and adult female larvae that glow through bioluminescence.

Fireflies may sometimes resemble real worms, but they are all insects, since a species of firefly is a type of fly, but most species of fireflies are beetles.

It is only the worms of feminine brightness that really shine as they spend about 2 hours each night in the mating season with their funds in the air, trying to attract a partner.

Incandescent male worms are attracted to the incandescent object of foliage, but they are also known to have been attracted to artificial lighting, such as street lights.

Fireflies are most commonly seen in the United Kingdom between June and October and their green tails tend to appear more clearly when the sun sets at sunset.

The legend says that the first humans used to use fireflies to mark roads and provide light in the huts.

It was thought that the glowworms had some kind of magical power and that is why people also used the glowworm in medications.

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Luminous arachnocampa
Scientific Classification
Kingdom:Animals
Edge:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta


Luminous arachnocampa: The New Zealand worm, found in the cave of Nikau, is the larva of a fly known as a fungus mosquito. The Maori call them titiwai, which means that the lights are reflected in the water.

His Maori name is Titiwai, which means projected on water.

He was first known to science in 1871 when he was collected from a gold mine in the Thames region. At first it was thought that it was related to the European beetle, but in 1886 a Christchurch master showed that it was a mosquito larva, not a beetle. The species was called Bolitiphila luminosa in 1891, before being renamed Arachnocampa in 1924.

Bright Worm Location

Fireflies are omnivorous animals, but tend to have a meat-based diet.

Fireflies feed primarily on snails and slugs, which make up the bulk of the fireflies' diet.

Fireflies also feed on other insects and small invertebrates.

Due to their small size and the fact that they glow in the dark, fireflies have numerous natural predators within their environment, including spiders, large insects, birds, reptiles and centipedes.

Typically, female fireflies lay between 50 and 100 eggs in wet areas, over a period of a few days.

The tiny firefly eggs are yellow and can take between 3 and 6 weeks to be born depending on the weather the warmer it is, the faster the firefly eggs will be born.

Fireflies are considered an animal species that is threatened with extinction since the number of firefly population is declining dramatically.

features

Mushroom mosquitoes look like big mosquitoes. While most feed on mushrooms and other fungi, a small group are carnivores and the worm-like larvae of these species use their bright lights to attract small flying insects in a sticky thread trap.

Worms usually catch small mosquitoes, but all types of flying insects get caught in the traps. If the insect is too large, the worm makes it free. Adult glowworm flies never get caught they are not attracted to light and even if they brush against sticky threads, they are strong enough to pull freely.

The tail light of the glow worm shines from an organ that is the equivalent of a human kidney. All insects have this organ, but the glow worm has a unique ability to produce a blue-green light from it. The chemical reaction that produces light consumes a lot of oxygen. An airbag surrounds the light organ, providing it with oxygen and acting as a silver reflector to concentrate the light.

A fungus mosquito can shine at all stages of its life cycle (except as an egg), but the larva has the brightest light.

In the caves, insects light up at any time of day or night. Sometimes, when a worm-glow is disturbed, the light seems to suddenly go out. This is the larva sliding in a crevice, hiding its light.

Lifecycle

The life cycle has four stages:

The female fly lays around 120 small spherical eggs. Within about 20 days the young larvae leave the eggs and crawl.

After hatching of the young larvae build a nest, lay the lines and feed.

The sticky substances in the feeding lines trap insects and they are drawn and devoured.

Even in this small size, less than 3 millimeters long, they emit a strong visible light and grow slowly over 9 months to the shape and size of a matchstick.

The pupa is the same as the cocoon stage in the butterfly's life cycle. It is the stage between the larva and the adult fly. This will last approximately 13 days with the pupa suspended by a ceiling wire.

The adult worm looks like a big mosquito. They have no mouth and their only function is to reproduce and disperse the species. Usually, a male is waiting for the female to emerge from the pupa, mating takes place immediately and the cycle continues. Adult glowworms live no more than a few days

Waitomo caves on the north island near Pirongia are a well known habitat, the caves that have become a popular tourist attraction.

These worms, for needing a humid place where the air is humid and still to build their ties, So the caves, old mining tunnels and the banks of the river in the bush are perfect.

Behavior

To capture small flying insects, the glow worm sets a trap of sticky silk threads. Flying insects see the light of the luminous worm in the dark and fly towards it, because it resembles the moonlight that shines through the trees. Instead of finding freedom, they get caught in the sticky threads. Their struggles alert the earthworm, which pulls the thread with its mouth. The dam is then killed and eaten.

The lines of bright worms vary greatly in number and length, depending on the size of the larva and its place of residence. The bright worms of the forest hang lines that are only 1-2 centimeters long, because they could get entangled in a breeze. In the calm air of the caves, the lines can reach up to half a meter.

Each line is made of silk with drops of sticky mucus - like beads on a string. The larva spends much of its time making and repairing the lines. Due to the flexible nature of its tube, the larva can push its head out to grab a line, ingesting it for reuse later.

A worm can make 15-25 lines per night, and will spend around 15 minutes producing each. The first drop of mucus is the largest, then a short length of silk is added, followed by another droplet, then another length of silk. A large worm that is almost mature can have up to 70 lines.

Nikau's cave has millions of glow worms. Throughout the cave you can see the larvae and sticky ties up close, and in the main cave you can see high above you as stars in the night sky.

Propagation

A kind of harvester prey in the eggs, larvae and pupae of A. luminaire, and even adult flies. A fungus also affects A. luminosa, Gradually kills the larva. Mushroom spores are spread by air movement, but since the larvae live outside the wind, the spread of spores is limited.

Predators

Glow-worm worm predators include the long-legged harvester, a close relative of spiders. This hunter can deftly move through the sticky traps in search of the worm-glow larvae. There is also a certain cannibalism in dense populations of mist worms during territorial disputes.

Up to 40% of worm pupae in caves are killed by a white fungus that wraps their body.

Lighting display

The tail light of the glow worm shines from an organ that is the equivalent of a human kidney. All insects have this organ, but the worm-glow has a unique ability to produce a blue-green light from it.

The chemical reaction that produces light consumes a lot of oxygen. An airbag surrounds the light organ, providing it with oxygen and acting as a silver reflector to concentrate the light.

A fungus mosquito can shine at all stages of its life cycle (except as an egg), but the larva has the brightest light.

In the caves, insects light up at any time of day or night. Bright outdoor worms begin to glow shortly after dark and usually shine all night. Sometimes, when a worm-glow is disturbed, its light seems to suddenly go out. This is the larva sliding in a crevice, hiding its light. It really takes several minutes for the larva to turn off the light.