British Glow Worm

2020 is the fourth year in a row that we have seen glow-worms in the garden. Despite the name these British invertebrates are actually nocturnal beetles!

Females resemble the larvae and both are wingless. Only the males have wings and a hard wing case.

This is a female, literally ‘shaking her booty’ to attract a mate. She lifts her abdomen into the air and uses her bioluminescence, (natural light created by an organism, using a chemical reaction) to signal to males.
She will repeat her display over a few nights, until a male arrives to mate with her. She is safely burrowed underground during the day.

We first saw these fabulous British glowing beetles late one summer evening in 2017. Returning home after dark, I was locking the car, when my husband shouted, "We have fairies in the garden!"

We have seen at least one of these amazing British beetles each year since - usually around late June. This one was quite late, filmed on 11th July 2020. We saw her for another couple of nights after filming.

Before you see a glow-worm, it is difficult to think what it would look like - would you recognise it? Would it be as bright as you think? Yes, they are that bright and unmistakeable!

This recording is zoomed in though; these night-loving beetles are not this big. Adult females are roughly 20mm long.

Our Glow worms seem to like the grass at a particular length, not too long. The first couple of years we saw them in the middle of the lawn but the grass was longer last year.. We thought at first we would not see her but then we spotted a glow on a small clump of grass at the corner of the house..

This year, she could not have picked a better spot if I had asked! The adult female glow-worm chose her site, on the edge of the lawn, in a spot that was perfect for me to wrap my tripod around our fig tree and film her display...