What Are Glow Worms?


Glow worms get their name from their natural capability to produce light, however, they are not actually worms. Glow worms are the larvae of a beetlelike bug and this insect produces light due to a chemical process called bioluminescence. According to A-Z Animals Encyclopedia, there are several components that result in the emission of this light. Energy, oxygen, enzymes and waste materials cause a chemical reaction in the insect that cause them to glow.

Glow Worm’s Habitat

  • Glow worms live in areas containing dense wood and caves. They live in all climates, but are commonly seen in summer months since this is their mating season. Their diet is meat-based, so their habitat is the same as the habitat of their prey, which includes snails, slugs and moths. They also have a variety of predators in their environment, including spiders, reptiles and centipedes.

Attracting Prey

  • Glow worms produce threads that resemble mucous. This mucouslike substance is what they use to attract and capture their prey. They place these threads in cracks and crevices within their habitat. After planting the thread, they wait patiently as insects slowly flock to it. Glow worms also use their light to lure their prey to the mucous thread.

Male and Female Glow Worms

  • Only the female glow worm has the ability to glow. During mating season, the female spends a couple of hours each day glowing in an attempt to attract a mate. Male glow worms are attracted to the glow and will mate with the female. Female glow worms lay between 50 to 100 eggs within a few days of mating. When the egg of a female glow worm hatches, the light of their larvae immediately start to glow.

Glow Worm Extinction

  • The glow worm population is facing extinction. As human civilization expands, the number of glow worms decrease. They are fragile creatures that cannot survive subtle changes in their environment. They also easily fall victim to their predators. Another factor in glow worms becoming extinct is that they have very short life spans. Female glow worms live about three weeks and die within thee days of laying eggs. Male glow worms live up to four days longer than females. Glow worms also eat their own offspring if there is no other food source available.


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