JungleDragon is a nature and wildlife community for photographers, travellers and anyone who loves nature. We're genuine, free, ad-free and beautiful.

Join

3/3 New Zealand glow worm bioluminescence Image 3 of 3...<br />
60 metres below ground surface in Ruakuri Cave, part of the Waitomo caves system on the north island of New Zealand. <br />
Seen here is New Zealand glow worm larva exhibiting bioluminescence. It was just amazing to see the visual effect of this phenomenon, deep within the caves. <br />
Flash photography was not allowed and capturing any image of these intriguing life forms in almost complete darkness was a challenge - I hope these images are of sufficient quality for others to enjoy.  Arachnocampa luminosa,Diptera,Geotagged,Keroplatidae,Macro,New Zealand,autumn,bioluminescence,fungus gnat larvae,insect Click/tap to enlarge PromotedSpecies introCountry intro

3/3 New Zealand glow worm bioluminescence

Image 3 of 3...
60 metres below ground surface in Ruakuri Cave, part of the Waitomo caves system on the north island of New Zealand.
Seen here is New Zealand glow worm larva exhibiting bioluminescence. It was just amazing to see the visual effect of this phenomenon, deep within the caves.
Flash photography was not allowed and capturing any image of these intriguing life forms in almost complete darkness was a challenge - I hope these images are of sufficient quality for others to enjoy.

    comments (8)

  1. New Zealand glow worm larva in silken hammock.....
    1/3 New Zealand Glow worm larva Image 1 of 3...<br />
60 metres below ground surface in Ruakuri Cave, part of the Waitomo caves system on the north island of New Zealand. <br />
Seen here is a New Zealand glow worm larva in its silk hammock. The larval stage and the imago of this fungus gnat produce a blue-green bioluminescence. It was just amazing to see the visual effect of this phenomenon, deep within the caves. <br />
Flash photography was not allowed and capturing any image of these intriguing life forms in almost complete darkness was a challenge - I hope the images are of sufficient quality for others to enjoy.  Arachnocampa luminosa,Diptera,Fall,Geotagged,Keroplatidae,Macro,New Zealand,autumn,fungus gnat larvae,insect,invertebrate
    Posted 9 months ago
  2. New Zealand glow worm silken lure threads.....
    2/3 New Zealand Glow worm silken lures Image 2 of 3...<br />
60 metres below ground surface in Ruakuri Cave, part of the Waitomo caves system on the north island of New Zealand. <br />
Seen here is New Zealand glow worm silken lure threads, suspended from the cave surface . The larval stage and the imago of this fungus gnat produce a blue-green bioluminescence. It was just amazing to see the visual effect of this phenomenon, deep within the caves. <br />
Flash photography was not allowed and capturing any image of these intriguing life forms in almost complete darkness was a challenge - I hope the images are of sufficient quality for others to enjoy.  Arachnocampa luminosa,Diptera,Geotagged,Keroplatidae,Life in the dark,Macro,New Zealand,autumn,insect,invertebrate,silk lure
    Posted 9 months ago
  3. Awesome, Ruth! :O
    I'm hoping to one day go see the glow worms ("Dismalites") at Dismals Canyon in Alabama. They are close cousins to this species!

    Promoting: Just because these are too cool not to do so!
    Posted 9 months ago, modified 9 months ago
    1. Thank you Lisa, sincerely hope your wish is fulfilled - this was up there as an 'unforgettable life experience' for me. Utterly intriguing, that life should evolve and continue at such terrestrial depths. I gather the adult flies don't come out of the caves either. Posted 9 months ago
  4. Ruth, absolutely incredible find, a very high value species intro, thanks so much for posting!

    Last November, we found some glowworms in Colombia, details in this post:

    Fungus Gnat Larvae, La Isla Escondida, Colombia Here comes a puzzling observation. On our path we found a giant fallen tree that was overarching the path diagonally, and looked like it had been in that position for years. On the backside of this fallen tree, we saw clusters of silk wires hanging down. Like singular silk lines in a vertical orientation joining up into a horizontal lines above it. <br />
<br />
At the end of each cluster, we found some weird predatory worm-like creatures. After some research, these are likely the larvae of a specific species of Fungus Gnats (which are small flies). This particular hunting behavior is documented for this Australian/NZ genus:<br />
<br />
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachnocampa<br />
<br />
This cool illustration does a creative job of documenting their way of life:<br />
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4869/2549/1600/bugfinalweb.0.jpg<br />
<br />
They glow to attract prey, hang out lures, then pull up the wire to feed on the prey, which may include themselves (cannibalism). They are typically found in caves or deeply into the rain forest as their web structures cannot tolerate any wind. <br />
<br />
What we found seemed extremely similar to the description of Arachnocampa, but we're obviously way out of range. Another known case closer to Colombia is the North American species Orfelia fultoni. I haven't found much else yet on South American species.<br />
<br />
Here's a video of the initial discovery:<br />
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR4v19HKPD4<br />
I don't know what's up with the sound. My smartphone led a creepy life of its own in this jungle, including recording videos I didn't even initiate. <br />
<br />
The larvae are tiny and light, partly translucent. In the series you can see a pure white individual as well as an individual with dark bulbs. I don't know what the bulbs are, theory for now is digestion. <br />
<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/72193/fungus_gnat_larvae_-_individual_la_isla_escondida_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/72194/fungus_gnat_larvae_-_hunting_la_isla_escondida_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/72191/fungus_gnat_larvae_-_macro_la_isla_escondida_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/72190/fungus_gnat_larvae_-_clear_la_isla_escondida_colombia.html<br />
<br />
And finally, you absolutely MUST watch this video of the New Zealand species:<br />
<br />
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC41M7RPSec Colombia,Colombia 2018,Colombia South,Ecuador,Fall,Geotagged,La Isla Escondida,Putumayo,South America,World

    And as we were finding out what these weird creatures are, we naturally came to the legendary New Zealand species. Absolutely wonderful that you managed to capture them.

    PS: you can also post JungleDragon image links in the description of your observation, this way you don't have to create a comment each time. Hope this helps, and again congrats on this excellent find!
    Posted 9 months ago, modified 9 months ago
    1. Thank you so much, advice re image links duly noted! This was extra special for me as I've battled Meniere's Disease and balance/vertigo issues for decades. I had thought the only way I could get to see these was via a raft on water and that sort of movement in virtual darkness was asking for trouble. But we found a guide who led small groups on foot in a lesser visited cave - and in fact in this way we were able to see the larvae up close which rafters cannot do. I am thrilled you got to observe some in Columbia, great to see your post/info. Amazing life forms indeed. Posted 9 months ago
      1. Nice personal victory! Posted 9 months ago
  5. Oh, and welcome to the super obscure "Life in the dark" tag :)
    https://www.jungledragon.com/tag/43991/recent
    Posted 9 months ago

Sign in or Join in order to comment.

''Arachnocampa luminosa'' , commonly known as New Zealand glowworm or simply glowworm, is a species of fungus gnat endemic to New Zealand. The larval stage and the imago produce a blue-green bioluminescence. The species is known to dwell in caves and on sheltered banks in native bush where humidity is high. Its Māori name is titiwai, meaning "projected over water".

The first written record of the species dates from 1871 when it was collected from a gold mine in New Zealand's Thames region... more

Similar species: True Flies
Species identified by Ruth Spigelman
View Ruth Spigelman's profile

By Ruth Spigelman

All rights reserved
Uploaded Apr 29, 2019. Captured Mar 26, 2019 07:57 in 880 Fullerton Rd, Waitomo 3977, New Zealand.
  • Canon EOS 60D
  • f/9.0
  • 1/32s
  • ISO1600
  • 18mm