Facts about Glowworms, "Scientific name for Glowworm is Arachnocampa luminosa". Glowworms are commonly referred to as the fire flies. When these brown beetles are viewed from a dorsal angle, their heads are not visible. They have a characteristic soft body and all of the individual are similar in appearance. While compared to other beetles, the glowworms are often softer and have more leathery elytra than in other beetles. They habit the temperate and tropical regions. Many prefer the marshes, wet, or wooded areas where their larvae have enough food for their development. The larvae, just like the adults glowworms emit light.
Attributes of Glowworms
Although there are some species of the fireflies that are diurnal (can forage both at night and in day time) most of them are nocturnal. A majority of the diurnal species do not emit light. The luminescent ones are the most common and found in almost every part of the world, their population, however, varies. The insects produce light exclusive. This means that unlike light bulbs whose 10% of their energy is produced as light and the rest as heat, fireflies produce light only, a hundred percent light energy that is. The Glowworms emit light from a gland in their abdomen.
The production of light is due to bioluminescence chemical reactions. These reactions take place in specialized light-emitting organs usually in the abdomen. The glands are richly supplied with tracheal breathing tubes and the production of light comes as a result of oxidation of the luciferin in the presence of an enzyme luciferase and magnesium ions. The beetle, in case it needs light, has the ability to supply the gland with oxygen.
Feeding and Reproduction of Glowworms
After mating, the female Glowworm takes a few days after which it lays her fertilized eggs just below or sometimes on the ground. The eggs take about twenty five days to hatch after which the larvae feed until the end of summer. Normally, the glowworms overwinter during their larvae stage, some for several rears. Most of them do this by burrowing underground while others find crevices on trees or hide under the bark. They then emerge in spring. After several weeks of foraging, they pupate emerging as adults after one to three weeks.
Most species of the glowworms are specialized larvae and have been seen to feed on, terrestrial snails, slugs, and other larvae. Some of the larvae are highly specialized such that they have developed mandibles, through which they deliver digestive fluids directly into their prey. Firefly species can either be predatory or feed on pollen and nectar from plants. Due to presence of steroids in these insects, they are usually not preyed on.
Lights emitted by these beetles have difference in purpose. For larvae, the light is supposed to warn predators. It is said that the light was used for the same purpose in adult glowworms. However, this changed with time and the adults use theirs to attract mates.
Habitat of Glowworms
Some select species of glowworms have large numbers of males gather in a bush and flash their lights in unison. This draws both sexes to the bush for mating. This phenomenon is similar to that of cicadas and long-horned grasshoppers that sing in unison to attract males. Some larger species are known to mimic the flashing of smaller species. Those that respond, other than mating are consumed.