TOP NEW ZELAND : Amazing CAVES in waitomo, iluminated by MILLIONS of FIREFLIES

The Waitomo Caves are located in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. Waitomo is a two-part Maori word. ‘Wai’ which translates as water and ‘tome’ which means entrance or hole. Waitomo can be translated as the “current that flows into the…

TOP NEW ZELAND : Amazing  CAVES in waitomo, iluminated by MILLIONS of FIREFLIES

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The Waitomo Caves are located in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. Waitomo is a two-part Maori word. ‘Wai’ which translates as water and ‘tome’ which means entrance or hole. Waitomo can be translated as the “current that flows into the hole in the ground”.

Best known for a beautiful phenomenon is Waitomo Glowworm Cave. Peering inside this cave is like being inside a spaceship with thousands of stars within the palm of your hand. But this effect has a natural cause that has nothing to do with outer space.

As the Waitomo Caves were underwater 30 million years ago, Glowworm Cave is made of limestone made up of fossilized shells, skeletons, and corals. The cave serves as home to thousands of fireflies, specifically the species Arachnocampa luminosa, which are a type of fungal gnat that glow in its larval stage. 

The cave name Glowworm, glowing worm, is a general name for the bioluminescent larvae of various species. It is the fungal gnats that can be found in large numbers in Waitomo Caves. The fungus gnat larvae cling to rock walls and hunt with long chains of sticky mucus. When viewed in large groups, they are truly astonishing and give visitors a magical sensation of being in the stars.

Firefly larvae can survive only in very humid and dark places where their light can be seen. They need a ceiling that is fairly horizontal from which they can hang their sticky feed filaments, and a sheltered spot where the wind won’t dry them out or tangle their threads. The Waitomo Glowworm Caves provide a perfect environment with a large number of insects coming up to the cave across the river.

Waitomo Glowworm Cave is part of the Waitomo Cave system, which includes Ruakuri Cave and Aranui Cave.

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