It glows in the dark, luring its prey into its waiting jaws. Then it buries its neon green self in the jungle floor until it’s ready to strike again. What could it be? Science is working on the answer!
Scientists were happy to reveal that they found yet another creature to add to the roster of known animals on planet Earth! This time the critter was found in the Peruvian rainforest, deep in the jungle and it’s a bug! A bug that glows neon green in the dark!
Entomologist Aaron Pomerantz, of the Tambopata Research Center in Peru, was working with his team in an area called the Refugio Amazonas when a photographer named Jeff Cremer brought the bugs to his attention. The new creature is a glow worm that glows bright neon green in the darkness.
Scientists tell us that they think these glow worms are the larval stages of a yet to be discovered beetle, also living in the area. Their glow is produced by phosphorescence and it seems to lure dinner right into their mouths.
According to Pomerantz, “[Ants or termites will] fly right into their jaws, and then they’ll just clamp shut and that’s their meal.” He and his team observed the glow worms eating stick insects as well. (Photo left by Jeff Cremer. He may have taken the other ones in this article, too.)
These creatures live below the ground and come to the surface to feed. They measure about a half inch long (1.2 cm). The glow worms use a “fast popping or “clicking” motion” to flee any predators after them.
This is one of the reasons the scientist believe these glow worms grow into what are called “click beetles.” They estimate there are in excess of 10,000 species of click beetles in the world. This one may be a new species.
Research into this little critter’s lifestyle and biology continues. Pomerantz added, “Right now, the team isn’t sure if it’s discovered a completely new species or a new subspecies of an already known species of beetle larva, but the researchers are contacting experts in Brazil to find out.”
Every day new creatures are being found. One day we’ll add some cryptids to that roster of animals known to science! We live in an exciting time!