Saturday, November 3, 2012

Waitomo - fantastic photos of glow worms

Today we are in Waitomo, which literally translates to Water That Flows Through a Hole in Maori. We've met back up with S and B and four of us booked caving with the Black Water Rafting Co.

Waitomo is certainly famous for it's caves, but it has something else too, glow worms.

A brief history on glow worms

Glow worms are not actually worms. They are maggots. Worms are just easier to market then maggots. The fluorescence comes from their digested excrement and attracts dinner as they cast sticky strands of spit down from ceiling. Nice.

But it gets better, once the maggots cocoon and become gnats, mother nature played a nasty trick on them. They have no mouths, no stomachs and 1/2 of there weight is dedicated to reproductive organs. So, the now starving gnat has no choice but to find a mate and get it on (for a day or two).

After the dude has shagged himself to death, the female lays eggs in batches and proceeds to die or more likely to get caught in a spit line and become dinner for one of her babies.

Once the eggs start hatching the larva will first eat each other until only the strongest survives. Yummy, omelette. It's because of this the caving guides affectionately refer to the caves as the "canabalistic shiny shit maggot caves". Now don't you just want to go visit?

(Much of this history was care of our fabulous guide, Inga. Thanks Inga!)

Despite knowing you were under a roof of maggots, they really are pretty. They look like hundreds of twinkling lights you know, like this:

Stars, not maggots.
Sadly, my photos don't look like that. My photos look like this:

An actual photo I took of the glow worms.

This is what they actually look like:

A photo I stole from another blogger, who probably stole it from yet another blogger...

Tomorrow I'll share photos from the actual caving.


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