Glowworm Cave

This morning I went floating around underground looking at maggots.

New Zealand’s famous glowworms are not really worms, but the larvae of the fungus gnat, which extrudes sticky threads from its hinder regions and uses bioluminescence to attract insects.

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When the larva becomes a fly, it mates, then flies around until it either starves or gets eaten by other glowworms.

But during the larval phase (about nine months), they cluster together in dark, wet places and put on a spectacular light show. We floated back and forth on an underground stream looking at constellations of these things above us. You’d need a tripod and probably at least a 15-minute exposure to get something good. This is what I could get with a hand-held shot at ISO 6400.


That’s nature: beautiful yet disgusting.