20 Jul 2018

Critter of the Week: NZ glow worm

From Afternoons, 3:30 pm on 20 July 2018
NZ glow worm larvae

NZ glow worm larvae Photo: Emma-Louise Crawford

This week DoC's Threatened Species Ambassador Nic Toki introduces us to the NZ glow worm, Arachnocampa luminosa, or Titiwai - the constellation of the caves! Like most glow worms, these critters aren't actually worms, they're a fungus gnat. New Zealand has over 300 species of fungus gnat but only one - arachnocampa luminosa - that produces light. 

Titiwai need damp places to construct their snares, as shown below, and are therefore usually spotted in caves or tunnels. They're under threat by spiders and a white fungus that attacks glow worm pupae. 

No caption

Photo: Phil Bendle