Scientific identify: Arachnocampa luminosa 
Scientific classification:
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Mycetophilidae


What does it appear to be?
The grub of the luminous gnat is the creature we're all in favour of right here. They are maggotlike creatures, pale in coloration and nearly clear. The cuticle on the pinnacle is more durable than elsewhere on the physique giving the animal what seems to be like a brown helmet. The totally grown grub is about Three cm lengthy.

Where does it stay?
The larvae and the adults of this fl y species are discovered solely in a number of locations in New Zealand.

Characteristics

The Waitomo caves in New Zealand are a labyearinth of tunnels, caves and grottos common over tens of millions of years by the erosive energy of water because it percolated steadily by way of fissures and cracks. Caves are pure refuges. They off er their inhabitants shelter from the extremes of the local weather and a number of hidey-holes through which to rear younger. In a few of the bigger, vaulted grottos of the Waitomo cave system the roof is dotted with a shimmering subject of bluish white lights. The first time observer may very well be forgiven for pondering he was taking a look at a spot the place the cave roof had disappeared giving them a transparent view of a fantastically clear starscape. These lights will not be distant suns out within the cosmos however the glow of myeariad fl y larvae, every with its personal little beacon. Although the cave roof with its multitude of lights is a somewhat unearthly and serene sight it belies the true objective of these beacons. The lights are literally lures and by shining within the perpetual darkness of the cave the fl y larvae can entice their prey. The mild is only one ingredient in the entire prey catching cake. The grubs hatch from their eggs and assemble themselves a nest, a hammock of silk, utilizing specialised glands of their head. They squirm alongside this hammock and proceed to produce extra silken threads. These threads will be lengthy as 40 cm and they hold straight down from the nest. At intervals alongside the thread there are little droplets of mucus—like tiny pearls on a necklace—every of which was utilized by the grub because it produced the strand. These little globules are very sticky and it should quickly change into clear what these are for. Below the lights and the sticky, silken strands, the stream that fashioned the caves meanders its method by way of the blackness. In the water are quite a few, immature bugs which have inadvertently drifted into the cave with the present. Some of them, reminiscent of caddis fl ies and mayfl ies might be prepared to the go away the water to start their temporary life as adults within the air. Emerging from the water they're fooled by the darkness within the cave into pondering it's night time time and the lights above are stars—the route to head for is the sky and away from their larval dwelling. They fl y feebly in direction of the lights, however they quickly discover to their peril that these lights will not be what they appear. They quickly blunder into one of many silken threads with its beads of sticky mucus and quickly change into entangled whereas fl uttering futilely. The gnat larva feels the struggling of the insect by way of its hammock and heads to the place the unlucky sufferer is entangled. It finds the fortunate thread and reels it in at up to 2 mm a second utilizing its jaws. The mayfl y is powerless to resist as it's drawn inexorably nearer to the gnashing jaws of the carnivorous grub. After it reeled th e insect in and consumed it the grub will secrete a alternative thread and return to the middle of its hammock the place it should sit and look forward to extra unfortunate bugs to be delivered by the gently fl owing stream and enticed by its intricate entice.

Key Facts

  • The luminous gnat is a sort of fungus gnat. These are usually small fl ies and worldwide there are not less than 3,000 species, however the adults are so quick lived and the larvae so onerous to discover that it's extremely probably there are various extra species but to be recognized. As the identify implies they're keen on fungi, particularly the larvae and the adults are sometimes discovered round fungi, mating and laying eggs.
  • Some of the fungus gnats (i.e., the luminous gnat and its family) are the one fl ies that may produce mild. Like different mild producing animals the luminous fungus gnats depend on the chemical luciferin and the enzyme luciferase. The enzyme breaks down the luciferin, and mild is produced.
  • In another family of the species described right here, the droplets that cling to the silken trapping strands of the nest are literally toxic, serving to to subdue the prey as quickly because it turns into entangled.
  • The luminous gnat is keen on caves to construct its entice, as even the slightest breath of wind would catch the nice, sticky threads and they might change into entangled and ineffective. However, they are often fairly widespread within the forest outside of caves. In this case they make a lot shorter fishing traces though it's possible they spend extra time eradicating tangles and making new traces.
  • The adults of the luminous gnat are very quick lived animals. They don't feed and there solely objective is to discover a mate and reproduce. The feminine can lay round 120 eggs in complete, that are deposited in batches. The males die quickly after mating and the females die as quickly as her eggs have been deposited.
  • When the grub of the luminous gnat is totally grown it pupates and even then its mild nonetheless shines. However, the male’s glow fades and disappears earlier than he emerges as an grownup, whereas the feminine retains shining vivid. It is believed this acts a beacon for the males to discover the females. The males can wait as she emerges from her pupae and tussle for the proper to mate together with her.