Insects tend to have a bad reputation really. If we come into contact with them on a regular basis, they tend to be in the “pest” category for sure…either they bite you, or try to eat your food (or lay eggs in it!) or spread disease. Mosquitoes are the biggest killers of people in the animal world thanks to malaria. That said, we love Butterflies and Ladybirds generally – maybe the pretty colours?
Anyway, I can’t recall ever being moved in such a really positive way by insects before – I only wish I had a photograph to share with you but they were not allowed. At the town of Waitomo lie caves which Glow Worms inhabit…not the only such place by any means but a great experience to travel by hand-pulled boat underneath a wonder of nature.
Glow Worms are not worms at all, they are actually the larval stage of development. They dangle “fishing lines” from the ceiling of the cave and use bioluminescence to attract prey from the river below. When something gets entangled, they pull it in and eat it…and sometimes they eat their neighbours too! Once the larval stage is complete, they undergo a metamorphosis into an adult with no mouth parts with a primary aim of breeding before death.
Travelling by boat in silence through a cave where all you can see is the insect’s gentle light illuminating the world around you is truly one of the most surprisingly beautiful things I think I have ever seen. Wow.