There are four species of fungus gnat in the genus Arachnocampa. They spend up to a year as larvae, then pupate into adult flies, mate, lay eggs and die. One species is known as the the New Zealand glowworm in its larval form. The caves inhabited by the glowworms have become a popular tourist attraction.
Scientific name: Arachnocampa
Fungus gnat glowworms
Glowworms light up the roof in Waitomo's caves, luring their prey to a sticky end.
The glowworm caves of New Zealand are an incredible sight! There are very few insect spectacles on this scale in the world, but this is definitely one of them, and it's something I would love to see before I die.' (George McGavin)
Recently developed image intensifier technology reveals their true nature.
Developed by Japanese TV company NHK, the image intensifier (II) system has a camera chip 300 times more powerful than the standard digibeta camera used for most wildlife filming. It took only LED headtorches to light the cave sufficiently to see the 'gloworms'. Previously, they'd been filmed using time-lapse which creates a flashing effect that doesn't actually occur.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Arachnocampa is a genus of five fungus gnat species which have a luminescent larval stage, akin to the larval stage of glowworm beetles. The species of Arachnocampa are endemic to New Zealand and Australia, dwelling in caves and grottos, or sheltered places in forests.
A previous synonym was "Bolitiphila," meaning "mushroom lover," in the past. The name was changed in 1924 to Arachnocampa, meaning "spider-worm," for the way the larvae hang sticky silk threads to ensnare prey. The genus Arachnocampa belongs in the family Keroplatidae.
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A video collection featuring bugs and insects in amazing close up selected by insect expert and TV presenter George McGavin, with Goliath spiders, killer centipedes, ants and moths.
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