"" Writer's Wanderings: Fascinating Glow Worms of Florida Bay

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Fascinating Glow Worms of Florida Bay

In the past I have posted pictures of what we call the glow worms that appear in the waters of Florida Bay three days after a full moon. Ever since Hurricane Irma hit the Keys in 2018, we have not seen as many. I can recall one night where they were so abundant that it looked like someone had sprinkled sparkling blue gems all over the top of the water.

When we returned from our Gulf Coast visit, it was exactly three days after the full moon. We had dinner, went down to the gathering to watch the sunset and returned to the condo for dessert. It was about 50-55 minutes after sunset that we went down on the dock in front of our condo. A small group had gathered to wait the appearance of the fascinating little critters.

Before long, we heard, "there's one!" "There's another," someone else called out. 

It was a perfect night to observe them. The water was calm so we could watch their dance in the water as they lit up.

I managed a coupe of pictures that turned out fairly well and one video. It's hard to capture the little critters since they only glow at the surface for a few seconds at a time. The female worm emits the glowing substance to attract the male and when he finds her, he emits a glowing mucus that contains the cells necessary for reproduction. It does look sometimes like a mating dance.

The phenomenon lasts about fifteen to twenty minutes and eventually they all fade away to wherever they go between full moons. 

Hopefully we will still be here in Florida for the next full moon.

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