What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

It is a Worm, but looks like he is armour plated
November 27, 2009
Hi Bugman
I wonder if you could help us?
My two boys, Ronin (9) and Raith (7) found this bug in the garden under dry leaves about 3 weeks ago. No one seems to know what it is, but he looks armour plated and yet has a snail like head? My boys have named him Rolanaith ( A mixure of all our names ) AKA Nathan. 🙂
We keep him in a big container inside with lots of dark brown garden sand, moist flowers, green leaves, dry and wet, some grass and ground cover etc .. as to create his home environment and this is changed regulary.
We seem to find him under the flowers most of the time. If you touch him, he also glows, he has two spots on either side of him at the bottom of his body and he glows bright green. HE has become our pet … 🙂 but we dont really know what he is, what he eats, what the correct environment is for him etc. please let me know as soon as possible. We dont want him to die, but after 3 weeks, he is still very much alive .. We look forward to your urgent feedback.
Lance, Angela, Ronin & Raith
Kwazulu Natal, Durban

Firefly Larva

Firefly Larva

Hi Lance, Angele, Ronin and Raith,
This is a Firefly larva, also called a Lightning Bug.  It is a beetle in the family Lampyridae.  Adults fly and flash their lights to signal mates, but the light in the larva is believed to be a defense mechanism to warn predators of the Firefly’s powerful chemical defense that has an unpleasant taste.  It sounds like your environment is fine, but you need to provide food.  According to BugGuide:  “Nocturnal, some live in moist places under debris on the ground, others beneath bark and decaying vegetation.   Food Larvae prey on small animals including snails.
”  Our knowledge of world geography is sometimes lacking, and we needed to look up that Kwazulu Natal, Durban is in South Africa.

Firefly Larva

Firefly Larva

Oh my word, THANK YOU! I cannot tell you how much we appreciate your input. THANK YOU. So does this mean that it will develop into a fire fly? It is so big?

Larvae are often larger than the adults.  This might also be an adult female as the females are often larviform

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

8 Responses to Firefly Larva from South Africa

  1. Jenny says:

    My son is getting married in April 2014 & her dream is to let fireflies free on her wedding night. We will need enough bugs for each couple to be able to join them. So we are goin to need many 100’s. I believe they take 2 years to mature. Do you have any that are about 18 mths old, so they are ready by Easter next year. If you can’t help please can you give me any ideas where I can try & obtain them.
    I look forward to your reply.
    Very many thanks in advance
    Jenny

    • bugman says:

      We do not supply any insects for any purposes. We do not know if there are any Firefly providers for the purpose you describe.

  2. Vezla says:

    Hi bugman,
    I am a garden lover and have been dreaming of having glow worms/ fire flies in the garden including the plants they like. Is there anyone that could assist me with this in Gauteng. Thank you for helping.

  3. Vuselela says:

    This evening we saw a little light in the garden and got out our torch to investigate. To our surprise we found a Firefly worm. Very red and with one part of its body aglow. Amazing. We have been in our house for 26 years and this is the first time we have ever seen one. We live in Durban North, South Africa. We have had a very dry winter and our late spring rains have now arrived I wonder if that has anything anything to do with it.

  4. Monica says:

    I live in the OHIO in the United States.
    I came across a small area where the ground was glowing. My puppy had wandered in the weeds so got him out. Then I returned to the area to investigate the bright green lights they would appear and then disappear. It was late at night so I could not see the actual thing I was investigating.
    I got down on the ground the weeds were somewhat high but the was a mixture of little wild pink flowers that are thick vine like. I was wearing a sleeveless shirt. I Got on the ground
    I live in the OHIO in the United States.
    I came across a small area where the ground was glowing. My puppy had wandered in the weeds so got him out. Then I returned to the area to investigate the bright green lights they would appear and then disappear. It was late at night so I could not see the actual thing I was investigating.
    I got down on the ground the weeds were somewhat high but the was a mixture of little wild pink flowers that are thick vine like. I was wearing a sleeveless shirt. I leaned down on my arms and knees and started rubbing the ground to see what it was. It was dark so I really couldn’t see anything except the glowing green off and on.
    I returned to the house and within an hour my arms started feeling like it was on fire a severe burning feeling then I noticed it turning red and appearing to swell up. By the next morning my one arm started developing sores and a brownish clear liquid like was coming out. This continued to get worse then it the wounds started to get puss.
    It has now been 7 weeks the skin will dry up but when exposed to sunlight it starts to break open and at times it feels like something underneath my skin.
    Now when I do the bathroom there appears to be odd stuff like black larvae
    and oily discharge?
    Is anyone know what could be going on. I have never seen this type of bug/worm before. But it does appear to look very similar to what I noticed in the pictures. We were able to collect a few the next day.
    Please if someone has any answers it’s not going away. Could this thing be harmful and what could have happened to cause this reaction.
    Also my puppy that laying in that area was 5 weeks old and healthy did end up passing away after a couple weeks?
    Please help.

  5. Johan de wet says:

    Good day
    I am now 63 years old and have seen a glow worm in Endicott in my garden .
    It is the first glow worm I have seen since I was 13 years old it was such a surprise. It was only the one solitary worm, are they getting extinct or not.

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