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BEE ISSUES   |  GLOW-WORMS

GLOW-WORMS
IN CUMBRIA

If you know of any recent sightings of Glow-worms in Cumbria
I would be pleased to hear from you - please email using the CONTACT DETAILS link above.

HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED - FROM THE LANCASTER GAZETTE 28 JUNE 1862
"The garden in front of the residence of Mr. J.S. Satterthwaite in Church Walk, Ulverston, is nightly illuminated by a vast number of glow worms, which shed their peculiar green light upon the tastefully arranged clumps of flowers, the effect being one of singular beauty and novelty. The glow worms were, as we understand, collected by a gentleman of this town, and a similar consignment sent to an acquaintance in London, the whole of which were gathered from the hills in the immediate neighbourhood".

It's a pity street lighting caught on!

  • The Glow-worm isn't a worm, but a beetle; females are wingless, however.
  • Populations are believed to have declined drastically in the last 50 years. Cumbria has most of the populations of northern Britain; the species is more widespread in Wales and southern England.
  • In Cumbria, the best sites are in the south of the county on limestone, but records exist from the west (Ravenglass area), from around Carlisle and from the CWT reserve at Barkbooth.
  • All stages of the life cycle emit some green light, but females generate an intense glow to attract mates.
  • The best times to see glowing females is at dusk (10 - 11 p.m.) in late June and July on warm humid nights.
  • Females are larger than males, so they can carry more eggs, but this means that dispersal to new sites is difficult and populations have tended to become increasingly isolated.
  • Adults do not feed much, but the larvae feed on snails, injecting digestive juices into them. The larvae develop over three years, spending two winters in hibernation.
  • Glow-worms are, therefore, most likely to be found on unimproved limestone areas, railway embankments and church yards.
  • The last three abdominal segments of the female adult have a layer of luciferin backed by a reflector of minute crystals. When oxygen and moisture combine with luciferin, light is emitted; the effect is controlled by switching on and off the supply of oxygen.
For further information on glow-worms visit: www.glowworms.org.uk