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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Glow Little Glowworm, Glimmer, Glimmer

This is the time of year when a curious little glowworm begins to appear in the mountains along the Oregon Coast. This photo is actually about three years old, but it came up the other day when I recieved an email from a television producer looking to do a story about interesting nocturnal insects of Oregon. Before I took this image, I had no idea that bioluminescent insects could actually be found along the west coast, not to mention Oregon.

I took this photo in the region west of Corvallis, and it was not easy. These are actually female beetles (still in a larval stage) advertising their presence to their male counterparts, who fly about the night forest looking for the glow of the female. They are not easy to spot either. To find them I had to hike around the forest on an inky black night, without any lights, and in a cold rain. Their glow is somewhat faint, so even moonlight sparkling in dew can be enough to make them difficult to spot.

They have interesting hunting behavior as well. Their bodies are designed to crawl into the spiral of a snail shell and devour the occupant. Yum!

1 comment:

Teacherguy? said...

I've seen one of these guys in a wooded area in Portland. Do you have an ID of this insect?

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Details About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer