Recently a nature photographer, Jeff Cremer, saw something odd that caught his attention as he was working at a lodge in the Peruvian jungle. According to Discovery, Cremer spotted “tiny pinpricks of light glowing in a wall of earth.”
Cremer moved in to get a closer look and found the green glowing lights to be tiny larvae staring at him. There were dozens of them all around him and the green glowing creatures were approximately.5 inches.
IFL Science reports that Cremer snapped pictures of the bioluminescent insects to show to entomologists in order to determine exactly what he had discovered. Upon showing his photos to the entomologists that work at the rainforest nature lodge, they revealed that they had never seen anything like it anywhere in their region.
What the entomologists learned was quite amazing. Discovery reports that these glowing worms are actually larvae of an “unknown species of a click beetle.” They are called click beetles because whenever they feel the need to escape danger, they make a loud clicking noise to deter their enemy.
The larvae are also intriguing in the way they capture prey for food. Cremer took three entomologists back to the spot in the rainforest where he saw the glow worms so they could see firsthand. The scientists, Aaron Pomerantz, Mike Bentley, and Geoff Gallice from the University of Florida, believed that the glowing mechanism was a way for the larvae to draw in flies or ants for food.
According to IFL Science, the scientists noticed the mandibles were stretched wide open in hopes for food. In an effort to test their theory, Cremer and the scientists put an ant on the end of a stick and put it close enough to a larvae to tempt it. It wasn’t long before the larvae careened forward, clamped down on the ant and drug it back down into his hole.
This revealed to the scientists that not only were they correct in their conclusion, but that the glow worm is a fierce predator, as well.
There is much to be learned about this particular glow worm. And, according to Discovery, Cremer and the entomologists haven’t yet determined if they have uncovered an entirely new species or if it is simply a new “subspecies of an already known species of beetle larva.”
The scientists will continue to study these interesting creatures.
[Photo Credit: IFLScience.com, Discovery.com]