A Glowworm Heaven

18 febrero 2008

"This galaxy of little lights is created by thousands of living creatures. Any animal that lives in a cave has to cope with complete blackness, but in New Zealand, have turned this darkness to their advantage". [1]

The Waitomo Glowworm Cave is a cave on the North Island of New Zealand, known for its population of glowworms, Arachnocampa luminosa. These glowworms spin a nest out of silk on the ceiling of the cave and then hang down. Then, the larva glows to attract prey into its threads, so that the roof of a cave is covered with larva can look remarkably like the heavens at night. According to Wikipedia, a hungry larva glows brighter than one which has just eaten.

From Planet Earth: "A silicon strand is lowered from the ceiling, alongside hundreds of others. Beautiful though these threads are, they have a sinister purpose". "To trap its prey it [the cave glow worm] goes fishing with a line of silk". "That ghostly blue light is the result of a chemical reaction taking place inside a special capsule in its tail... Insects seem irresistibly drawn towards the source and then get trapped by the sticky lines":

"Once stuck, there is no escape. Now it's just a matter of reeling in the line and slowly consuming the catch - alive. By ensnaring the insects that hatch in this cave, these glow worms have solved the biggest challenge that permanent cave dwellers face finding a regular and reliable source of food".