Very strange bug
March 11, 2010
This bug has an exo-type skeleton, is centipede like, but only has legs towards the front of its body – looks like six. It rolls up when scared. It’s black with beigeish- yellow in between segments. It’s segmented like a critter from the sea.
Gualala Ridge Farms
Gualala, Northern California Coast

Western Banded Glowworm

Dear Gualala Ridge Farms,
We believe this is the first letter we have ever received from a piece of real estate.  This is a larviform female Western Banded Glowworm, or perhaps it is an immature larva.  The species is sexually dimorphic, which means that the winged males look nothing like the females which resemble larvae.  When we posted a photo of a female Western Banded Glowworm in 2004, Eric Eaton wrote in the following comment:
“Dear Daniel:
Whoah! Tell him to turn out the lights and he’ll get a real surprise:-) That sure looks like a larviform female of the glowworm, Zarhipis integripennis. In fact, I think we still need a shot of this for our field guide…. They feed exclusively on millipedes, so he could conceivably keep her in a terrarium with some soil and leaf litter and add a millipede or two….He could also take her outside some evening and see if she attracts any males (which ARE beetle-like, fly, and have these amazing feathery antennae). She will glow bright greenish-yellow from the pale membranes between her segments. Thanks for sharing! Makes my day:-)
Happy holidays to you.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for the response.  My son, Dylan, who is 7, is thrilled to know we have glow worms on our property.  The next one we find, we will try the millipede experiment.  It is pouring rain today so we let her go where we found her.  I know Dylan will be gathering millipedes in soil until we find the next glow worm.  As soon as he read your email he turned off all of the lights in the house, but we did not see a glow, so we decided to let her go.
Thanks again for your website and your response.  Young bugologists such as my 2 kids love looking up bugs on your site when we find them.

Thanks for the followup Cindy.  The Featured Creatures website also has some great information.

2 Responses to Western Banded Glowworm

  1. justsomegirl says:

    So is this bug supposed to only be in California? because i live in Michigan, and this creepy crawler was just crawling on my foot..just trying to learn some info on this little bug..

    • bugman says:

      This particular species of Glowworm is from the western parts of North America, but other species in the family Phengodidae are found in other locations. As you can see from this data map on BugGuide, there are Glowworm sightings from Michigan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.