Worms, wonderful worms

What does one do on a rainy day in New Zealand? Frank and I headed two hours to Waitoma to see something you can only see in New Zealand — a glowworm cave! A cave walk took us through some stunning limestone stalagmite and stalagtite formations while we learned about the insects’ life cycle. We then boarded a boat and travelled in an eerie silence through a dark cave, illuminated only by the light of these incredible creatures.

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I pulled the pictures above off the internet as they don’t allow photographs in the caves. Biology lesson time: The lifecycle of a glowworm is 9 months. Eggs hatch in 3 weeks into larvae (midge). The midge drop threads of sticky substance. They emit a light attracting other insects to the threads and then they suck up their prey. They may also feed on other glowworms if they need to. After 8 months, the threads serve to suspend the larvae when it forms into a pupae. The adult glowworm fly emerges after 2 weeks. Females live up to 3 days and males 4, long enough to mate, lay about 150 eggs and continue the life cycle.