GLOW-WORMS

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

Wit­ness the mag­i­cal nat­u­ral spec­ta­cle of glow-worms il­lu­mi­nat­ing evening lanes, hedges and gar­dens.

The glow-worm’s fa­mous light show is pro­duced by the chem­i­cal lu­ciferin (from the Latin ‘lu­cifer’, mean­ing ‘light-bearer’) as it reacts with oxy­gen in the air. It’s an in­cred­i­bly ef­fi­cient process: vir­tu­ally all the en­ergy is trans­ferred into light, com­pared to an old-fash­ioned phos­pho­res­cent bulb, which wastes most en­ergy as heat. It is the adult fe­male’s bright bea­con that has earned the glow-worm its name, but males can glow faintly, too. The in­sect lights up at all stages of its life-cy­cle, in fact – prob­a­bly as a warn­ing to would-be preda­tors. Even glow-worm eggs give off a faint glim­mer.

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