A female Glow Worm beetle glowing at sunset to attract a mate

Common glow-worm

Common glow-worms are actually bioluminescent beetles. It is the females which glow most noticeably - the larvae and adult males produce only a faint glow. The larvae are predatory and hunt slugs and snails, but as adults they rarely feed. Females have only a few weeks in which to attract a mate and lay eggs. After this, they die. As well as attracting a mate, the glowing abdomen is a warning to predators to stay away - glow-worms taste bad and contain chemicals that cause vomiting.

Scientific name: Lampyris noctiluca

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • European glow-worm,
  • Firefly glow-worm

Watch video clips from past programmes (3 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

Distribution

The Common glow-worm can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Habitats

The following habitats are found across the Common glow-worm distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Temperate grassland Temperate grassland
Temperate grasslands include the prairies of North America, the steppes of Russia and the pampas of Argentina. Summers here are mild to hot and the winters can sometimes be very cold – for instance, blizzards can blanket the great plains of the United States.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Classification

  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Arthropods
  4. Insects
  5. Beetles
  6. Fireflies
  7. Lampyris
  8. Common glow-worm