PANA2017 (1) Min

Glow worms breeding programme

To look at, glow worms could be props from the set of Alien. Their black, armoured exo-skeleton gives them an almost hostile appearance. But one radiant glow from their abdomen is all it takes to fall under their spell. Sadly, these luminescent critters are a dwindling sight, with populations having fallen by three quarters in just over twenty years. 

Wildwood Devon has teamed up with Derek Gow Consultancy in a bid to help reverse the fortunes of these magnificent creatures - which are not actually worms but beetles. Larvae provided by Derek Gow Consultancy are currently being reared at an indoor facility here at Wildwood Devon, which is closed to the public. In time, they will be released into a suitable habitat in southern England. 

Glow worms have faced rising threats over the years. Changes in land use have reduced the amount of available habitat. At the same time, snails - a glow worm’s favourite food source - have been suffering the effects of climate change. Fewer snails means less prey for our beloved glow worms. One of two collections in the UK to be breeding this fascinating species through this project, we are hopeful that we can make a positive impact on population numbers in Devon despite the many challenges they face.

Photo credit: Russell Barnett


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