Glowing knights

While rummaging through my photo collection, I stumbled upon an image that was shot well over a decade ago! When I saw the image, the entire incident flashed through my mind.

It was… I was camping out on the outskirts of Bangalore and had some time before dinner. So, I wandered off into the nearby wilderness. Everything around me was dark and I used a small torch to light my path. Once I was far away from the camp, I switched off the torch and tried to be part of the darkness. The landscape was lit only by the sparse moonlight filtering through the thin layer of clouds and the fireflies.

As I stood there enjoying the moment, my attention was drawn to a continuous green glow from the ground. I did not make much of it, but my better sense for some reason decided to keep a tab on it. This ensured that my eyes kept going back to that glow. The sounds of the night, the outlines of the vegetation and the pulsating light of the fireflies were quite enchanting indeed.

Again, my eyes went back to the green glow and around the same time, it caught the sight of a firefly heading in the direction of the glow.  I followed it.  It flew straight to the green glow and disappeared.

I could not control my curiosity. I slowly made my way through the bushes to the spot and shone the torch at the spot. What I saw completely had me floored! The firefly was mating with the glow worm. The glow worm was enormous compared to the size of the firefly.

The small firefly mating with the large glow worm !

The small firefly mating with the large glow worm !

Both glow worms and fireflies are misnomers. Neither is the glow worm a worm nor is a firefly a fly. However, they lead very interesting lifestyles. The manner in which these insects use light to attract their mates is very unique indeed. Females of some species are known to mimic the pulsating light of other species and make a meal of the males that get attracted. Glow worms themselves are feisty predators as detailed in a story that I wrote some time ago. This was based on my observations of an interaction between a snail and a glow worm.  Other aspects of their lives are very interesting too. You will greatly benefit by reading up a little about these fascinating creatures!

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