25 July 2012

Glow-worms all aglow

Jo-Lo and I found ourselves among friends at the entrance of the Botanic Garden on the night of 20 July. We were there to check out the glow-worms which become prominent at certain times of the year.

Spring is the best time to see it apparently, but there's no time like the present! I've never seen glow worms before (and never have my other companions, so we were quite excited about this). I imagined it will be similar to fireflies, only they wouldn't be floating mysteriously about.

We all felt a giddy sort of excitement as we started walking down the dark path after the short talk about the glow-worms. There was a sizable crowd, and so we were split into 2 groups. The kids loved using their torch (that's what they call the flashlight in these parts) to light the way, Jo-Lo included.

After a few minutes' walk, we reached the side of a creek and we were asked to turn off our torches and look for telltale signs of "glowing". It was not as I imagined it to be. Instead of the soft, flickering lights of the fireflies, we saw a number of focused, steady pinpoints of light by the slopes. And the light has a greenish-blue tint to it. The light is very detectable, like it's coming from an LED.

We joked that the park might as well string together some LEDs across the banks like Christmas lights if the glow-worms decide to do a no-show! It's amazing how these worms are able to create these distinct pinpoints of light! The tour guide said they use it to lure insects. The worms also generate fishing lines onto which globules of sticky mucus are arranged to catch their prey.  Sorry for the blurry photo, but you can see the fishing lines below.

We wandered about the vicinity and saw quite a few concentrated areas of glow worms.  It's an interesting, educational, and fun trip.  Check out the Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden website for more info on how you can join a tour.  It's $5 for adults, under 12's are free.

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