Friday Fotos: Twinkle, Twinkle Little… Glowworm?

April 26, 2013

glowwormsThere are so many glowworms that live in New Zealand’s Waitomo caves visitors will feel like they’re looking up at a night sky rather than cave walls.

The 300 cave system has been around for millions of years, and the starry night vibe is there thanks to the Arachnocampa luminosa, a glowworm species only found in New Zealand, GrindTV reports.

Waitomo.com explains the Waitomo Glowworm Caves were first explored in 1887 by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau accompanied by an English surveyor Fred Mace.  They built a raft of flax stems and with candles as their only lighting, floated into the cave where the stream goes underground.

As they entered the caves, their first discovery was the Glowworm Grotto with its myriad of tiny bright lights dotting the cave ceiling. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness, they saw a multitude of lights reflecting off the water. Looking up, they discovered that the ceilings were dotted with the lights of thousands of glowworms.

New Zealand glowworm cave

Photo: Spellbound Tours

According to The Visa Centre, the easiest way to travel the caves is by boat or you can also walk through the caves along well-formed paths and stairways. And, if you’re a thrill seeker, you can experience the thrill of black water rafting or zip lining through the same caves.

New Zealand Waitomo glowworm cave

Photo: Waitomo.com

Spellbound Glowworm & Cave Tours says these glowworms live all over New Zealand; they’re very common and found in forest settings, usually under overhanging stream banks . Where conditions are suitable they live in caves and can colonise cave ceilings in impressive numbers. Glowworms can turn off their lights when there is too much bright light from another source, or to ‘hide’ if disturbed.

Image by James Dooley

But the glowworms are best known for their magnificent luminescent displays as visitors meander through the Waitomo caves.

New Zealand Waitomo glow worm cave

Photo: SpotCoolStuff.com

New Zealand Waitomo glowworm cave

Photo: Spellbound Tours

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂  j & B


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