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Glow-worms


by Pippa Greenwood

Known in Latin as Lampyris noctiluca (noctiluca meaning 'night light'), this charming glowing critter is not actually a worm, but a beetle.


Pippa GreenwoodThere are some things that get me really excited and glow-worms fall into that category. Having grown up in London I never saw glow-worms; it wasn't until I moved to my Hampshire hillside that I first saw one, glowing away beautifully.

We usually see them most summers - I was devastated one year when we saw none, but the following year they were back.

We go on regular family outings to a nearby plant-covered mound of soil, which seems to be a five-star glow-worm night spot. The thrill of seeing them is immense; they're such magical creatures.

Known in Latin as Lampyris noctiluca (noctiluca meaning 'night light'), this charming glowing critter is not actually a worm, but a female beetle. She produces the yellowy-green light from the end of her abdomen as a mating signal to passing males -far more subtle than the red light! The male, by comparison, is a dull browny-black. The larvae (which, sadly, I've never seen) are a gardener's friend as they feast on snails throughout June and July. But even if they weren't so useful, I'd happily welcome them into my garden, as, come nightfall tonight we'll be out there, excitedly grinning whilst those gorgeous girls sit there glowing!



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Gardeners' World Web User 27/07/2008 at 12:26

i think this site is brilliant! it gives you loads of information on glow worms and basic gardening and how 2 find the i would definitely go on this web-page again

Gardeners' World Web User 31/07/2008 at 08:10

As a child and young adult (40s & 50s)there were hundreds of them sparkling away. This was in a village on the Surrey/Hampshire border. What a loss!

Gardeners' World Web User 24/10/2008 at 23:29

We regularly have half a dozen or so glow worms in our garden each year although I didn't see any this year possibly because the weather was so awful. They tend to come out on warm July evenings and seem to particularly like bits of borders or grassy areas which hasn't been tendered. They are like little neon lights and its always exciting to see them. My neighbours do not seem to have resident glow worms so I certainly feel privileged!

Gardeners' World Web User 24/10/2008 at 23:38

Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts about swarms of different spotted/coloured ladybirds which all arrived together on the same day. We had at least 200 which settled on our south facing wall - it was the last warm day a couple of weeks ago. Some were red with black spots, others were yellow with black spots and some were black with red spots. I do not think any were big enough to be the 'foreign invader'. Unfortunately my camera was out of action so I have no photos. I am really intriqued as to why such a variety would appear together.

Gardeners' World Web User 09/06/2010 at 22:22

[...] being surrounded by nature. To this day there are things in nature that we cannot fully understand (glow worms, anyone?) I spent a lot of my free time as a small child playing in the woods, and being alone in [...]

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