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These Carnivorous Worms Catch Bugs by Mimicking the Night Sky

These slimy threads are ‘fishing’ lines in New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves. The lures are the bioluminescent glow of Arachnocampa luminosa, or glow worms. Their carnivorous larvae create a starry night sky a half a mile deep in the caves, attracting unsuspecting moths, midges, mosquitos, mayflies, and more. KQED’s Deep Look series takes us there. Plus, a bit of history from Wikipedia:

The species was first described in 1871 when collected from a gold mine in New Zealand’s Thames region. At first it was thought to be related to the European glowworm beetle, but in 1886 a Christchurch teacher showed it was a larva of a gnat, not a beetle. The species was called Bolitiphila luminosa in 1891, before being renamed Arachnocampa luminosa in 1924.

Next: A 4K video time lapse from the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, beautiful summer nights full of fireflies and stars, and more from Deep Look.

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