Beautiful 30-million-year-old New Zealand cave phenomenon is unique

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New Zealand is one of only two countries in the world to experience this incredible natural phenomenon. Lucky visitors can experience these underground caves with their mystical green-blue light for themselves.

Famous Auckland photographer Joseph Michael spent several hours documenting these amazing caves which date back around 30 million years. Here are some amazing facts:

1. Glowworms are only found in New Zealand and Eastern Australia. New Zealand’s glowworms stay together in larger groups which means that they generally give off a larger light.

The species is a fungus gnat that dwells in damp caves, grottoes and sheltered, moist forest locations.

The Māori name for them is titiwai, which is translated as “projected over water”.

                                                                                                                              businessinsider.com.au / Joe Michael

2. Arachnocampa, the 1st part of the species’ name meaning literally “spider worm”, relates to the web of silk threads that the worms use to trap their prey.

                                                                                                                      businessinsider.com.au / Joe Michael

3. The glowing light’s sole purpose is to help the worms to find insects to eat. We think this makes perfect sense!

                                                                                                        businessinsider.com.au / Joe Michael

4. It is best to visit the caves at night-time, as the insects are most active then. People who’ve seen the phenomenon have described it as a fantastic experience similar to sleeping under the stars.

                                                                                                       businessinsider.com.au / Joe Michael

5. The glowworm eggs are formulated into larvae which then develop into adult flies. In general, glowworms live most of their life as larvae, usually between 6 and 12 months depending on the availability of food.

                                                                                                                                businessinsider.com.au / Joe Michael

6. When glowworms reach adulthood, they can’t fly very well so they stay in one place and build their colonies.

                                                                                                                                 businessinsider.com.au / Joe Michael

7. Another amazing fact: female glowworms lay 130 eggs, after which they die. Approximately 3 weeks later, the eggs develop and the cycle repeats.

                                                                                                         businessinsider.com.au / Joe Michael