Magical Glow-worm Cave in Waitomo, New Zealand

Hidden deep beneath the hilly sheep-populated countryside of North Island, New Zealand is a real-life Cave of Wonder.

The Waitomo Glow-worm Cave hosts thousands and thousands of glow-worms that light up the cave ceiling like a shining night sky. This species of glow-worm, Arachnocampa luminosa, which is found only in New Zealand, emits a blue-green glow that illuminates the underground cave river.

Funny thing, though, the glow-worms aren’t really glow-worms. They’re actually fly larvae. And what causes the glowing? Excretory organs. These creepy-crawlies produce a silk-like thread used to trap flies and other bugs for them to prey on. And the hungrier they are, the brighter they glow. Pretty neat, but gross.

Tourists can explore the cave by rafting through with a tour group or by floating on a rubber tubing as a part of trekking tours available.

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