Tag Archives: Waitomo

The Glow-worm Caves of Waitomo

In New Zealand there is an underground river that draws tourists in, not for the river itself, and certainly not to eat their souls. Though I’m sure the river enjoys chomping on the occasional human sacrifice. Probably. Maybe. Okay, probably not, but it makes for a good story.

Anyway, the draw here is not the underground river, or the network of caves that river travels through. Both are impressive, but this place has something even more awe inspiring. They aren’t called the glow-worm caves for nothing. ┬áThe image below shows the “glow-worms” that illuminate the cavern ceiling.

Image credit: whereonearth.net

Image credit: whereonearth.net

Glow-worms is in quotes above because the “glow-worms” that give this cave its name are anything but. The truth is pretty messed up. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The “glow-worms” are actually fly larvae and the glow is caused by excretory organs. They produce a thread that catches flies and other insect for these little cannibals to feast on. And in what may be the most disturbing twist: the hungrier these little beasties are, the brighter the glow.

That being the case, if you ever visit you may want to pray for a dim glow lest you be eaten by the locals.