Glow-worms mating at Durlston Country Park
Glow-worms mating at Durlston Country Park.

The female is the glamorous one glowing in the darkness.  In contrast the male is rather dull and lacks the ability to glow. The male however does have the advantage of being able to fly.

We spotted this female at the side of the road whilst walking down to the Lighthouse. After watching her under torchlight for a minute or two we walked on counting the number of glowing females. Upon reaching the Lighthouse and spotting the one on the wall we turned back up the hill. When we arrived back at this particular female her light appeared to be switching on and off. Upon closer inspection it became clear her light was being obscured by the male.

A short video of a displaying female Glow-worm on the edge of the Lighthouse Road at Durlston. Remarkable just how bright they are in the natural darkness. One of 16 spotted on the short walk from the old visitor centre to the Lighthouse.
Female Glow-worm clinging to a stem of grass A final embrace - mating Glow-worms
The same Glow-worm lit up by the camera flash. The insect is actually the final adult stage of a snail devouring beetle. Lacking any mouthparts the adult is unable to feed. Upon completion of mating the female Glow-worm will put out her light, descend to ground level and use the rest of her remaining energy to lay eggs. Unable to feed her life is near to completion.
Female Glow-worm hanging onto the Lighthouse wall
This enterprising female had decided to climb up the wall of the Lighthouse – nothing like a bit of competition. Or maybe the bright light helps to attract the males?

Closer to home historically Glow-worms have been recorded on the Wirral and up at Warton Crag. It’ll be surprising if they aren’t at a few other places amongst the limestone grasslands and crags of north Lancashire. Hopefully we’ll have chance to have a look next July.

For more info on Glow-worms please visit Robin Scagell’s  Glow-worm Survey.

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