I have found a new spot to add to my “OMG I Must Go Here” list: The Waitmo Glowworm cave of New Zealand.
These insects are a type of midge (fly) (Arachnocampa) that are bioluminescent as larvae. The sun literally shines out of their ass, since their luciferin gland is in the rear segments of the body. Check out the Waitomo flickr set.
And look–Video with David Attenborough!!
What we normally think of as ‘Glowworms’ in the US and UK are a different group than these NZ flies, and like the other glowing bugs, fireflies, are beetles. The Phengodidae are a diverse group. Most of the larvae are bioluminescent, and so are females. Interestingly, females don’t develop into typical adult beetles, but remain “larviform”.