Glow-worm; Railroad Worm
- Adult female
spp. / Order:Coleoptera
Oak Ridge, TN
September 11, 2008
This is what the mystery critter turned out to be when it stretched out (to 3"!). I figured it was a beetle larva of some sort. Lynn looked up "Beetle larvae" on Bugguide.net
and we finally found it. We learned it is an adult female Giant Glow-worm. Later, I read that the female larvae and adult beetles are bioluminescent (probably as a deterrent to nocturnal predators). The adult females are larviform
, they look very similar to the larvae. The larvae eat millipedes and can deliver a painful bite (due to a toxic saliva). I was glad I didn't handle it when I was trying to photograph it! This probably explains why I have seen the hollow exoskeletons of millipedes on the trail when I've been hiking.
This website tells more about these interesting animals:Glow-worms
Adult male Glow-worm beetles are winged and have HUGE feathery antennae, they do not eat.