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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Glow-worms

This is a short-ish post showing one of the reasons I went out at dusk armed with torches last week. As well as finding those Forest Bugs that I showed in my previous post I sort of found what I'd been looking for! I was also interested to see if moths were attracted to torch light - well it seems they aren't really, only one landed on my torch but I could see there were plenty around. I didn't see a lot else other than a roosting Magpie who woke up and then woke the rest of his family and they all started cackling up in the tree tops. And the Tawny Owls were hooting away but we can hear them indoors anyway and are used to their sound at various times of the year.

Having found a Common Glow-worm nymph in the veg patch back in the spring, I'd been dying to get out and see if I could find any adults. I'd seen some females glowing after dark at my previous house many moons ago and that was pretty cool, but of course I don't have photos from back then. I didn't see any females glowing but when I went to check on the large torch that I'd laid in the grass for a while, blow me down if I didn't find a male Glow-worm on it! I have checked the different species and I think this is the Common Glow-worm Lampyris noctiluca, although there is another species very similar called Lamprohiza splendidula which is smaller, and has two clear patches in the head shield over the eyes, but I can't see that in any of my photos. 

Male Glow-worms are attracted to light.

I had to get it onto my hand to take photos, otherwise I found they just went down into the grass thatch, not trying to hide but were too hard to photograph like that. It seemed perfectly happy to wander about on my hands and fingers. I seem to be forever showing bugs on my hands these days, I guess it's just a convenient place to put them. :-)

Common Glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca).

Then after I'd had my walk around (accompanied by 3 cats, which I was pleased about as I am scared of the dark and it was less spooky with them about, even if they did scare off any interesting critters that may have been in the vicinity!) I found another one! I know this isn't the same one... unless he got a white marking on him somehow in less than half an hour. I think it's a bit of bird poo or something as I don't see any images of Glow-worms that show markings like this.

Common Glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca).

So this week I'll attempt to stay up late and go out again and see if there are any females still glowing. Apparently the females glow for up to 2 hours after dusk during June and July, so here's hoping.

I've shared these before but here are the pictures of the nymph I found, which by the way eat snails, so are a perfect critter to have in the garden!

Common Glow-worm nymph (Lampyris noctiluca).

Common Glow-worm nymph (Lampyris noctiluca), showing its amazing mouth parts.

4 comments:

  1. Lady glow worms also look a lot like nymph glow worms. We had no success on our two recent outings to spot them, but did see several a month or so ago in local woods. We will be back out next June with clip boards and GPS in hand!

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    1. Thanks CT - June is even worse for me cos it's not dark until even later and I'm a morning person, and by the time glow worms are a-glowing I'm half asleep on the sofa in front of the telly! Glad you got to see some. :-)

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  2. Now I have seen the juvenile glow worms here and so there must be adults too. We have neighbours who put out large chunks of bread for the birds and this attracts the magpies, no problem but they are noisy, like a football rattle going off. Well done you anyhow for going out after dark in search of these...

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    1. Hi JJ and thank you! I'm a total wuss in the dark on my own, always have been, even in my own garden. There are bogeymen out there you know. :-) And we have way too many magpies around here and they steal my hen eggs sometimes. Hope you find some adult glow worms.

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