The glowworm caves of Waitomo

Many years ago, I visited the glowworm caves in Waitomo, New Zealand, a wondrous place where these tiny creatures festoon the roofs of the caves and give out tiny points of light that make them look like the night sky. It is remarkably beautiful. A young Canadian couple moved to New Zealand and have gone to extraordinary lengths to take time-lapse photographs of it.

They explain how they did it and also provide information on how and why these insects generate the light.

New Zealand’s famous glowworms are one of the many wonders this beautiful country has to offer. What makes these creatures so unique is their bioluminescent glow that illuminates many caves across New Zealand. Technically, these glowworms aren’t actually worms. They are the larvae of a special kind of fly known as a fungus gnat whose tail glows with a blue-green light provided by an organ equivalent to a human kidney. This light is used to attract its prey into a snare of sticky threads, but when scattered across the ceiling of a cave resemble a star filled sky.

It took an enormous amount of time and effort (60 hours in the dark and damp caves alone) to get just 90 seconds worth of video.


  1. jockmcdock says

    Beautiful movie. I’ve been in one of the Waitomo caves. We went in a (little) boat. It was gorgeous. So dark and quiet but there were all these beautiful little lights.

    NZ is a really beautiful (third time I’ve used that word!!) country.

    And I’m an Aussie!! What does that tell ya?

  2. Numenaster says

    That someone will be coming round to discuss loyalty with you?

    More seriously, wow that’s lovely. I’m glad there is video, because I would totally end up covered in sticky threads just from trying to get a better look.

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