On the third night after full moon, precisely 56 minutes after sunset, the usually uneventful life of a female glowworms starts to get exciting. She springs up from her home on the ocean floor and heads for the surface of the water, where she radiates an amazing green light to attract her mate. Take your kids to watch the glowworms one evening this summer. The best places? Ferry Reach Park, Flatts Inlet and Shelly Bay.
Dates to see the Glowworms this summer:
Glowworms Explained by Jennifer Gray, courtesy of Experience Bermuda
You can experience the magic of Bermuda in many ways, from snorkelling in a sparkling ocean to soaking up the sun on a warm pink beach. But the most magical experience of all may be to spend a warm summer night observing the spectacular mating dance of the Bermuda glowworm (Odontosyllis enopla).
Glowworms inhabit protected bays within the islands, where they are overlooked for most of the year, in silky mucus tubes amongst the sediment of rock-strewn seabeds. In summer, however, they make up for their sedentary lifestyle by starring in a magnificent natural light show. It has become something of a Bermudian custom to go down to the seaside, or make a special boat trip into the harbours and inlets, to watch their amazing performances.
The show peaks on the third night after a full moon, precisely 56 minutes after sunset. Female worms leave the safety of the rocky bottom and swim to the surface where they swarm in circular patterns, releasing a bright green luminescent substance intended to attract males. The rings of bright green light are amazing, but the light show gets even better when excited males make a frenzied dash towards their female targets. Upon making contact, males and females release an explosion of glowing gametes into the water in a passionate display of marine fireworks.
Christopher Columbus was the first to report this ritual in 1492. Now the glowworm mating dance is a unique attraction for tourists to Bermuda. The display lasts little more than 10 minutes, but is well worth the effort to see. If you visit Bermuda in summer, don’t miss the show.
Experience the Glowworms on a Glowworm Cruise!
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo
Experience the Bermuda legend with the Bermuda Zoological Society Glow Worm Cruise. What could be better than spending a moonlit evening spotting glowworms whilst sampling wine and cheese? The cost is $45 for BZS members and
$55 for non-members. The boat sets off from the T-dock opposite Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo. To book email email@example.com or call 293-2727.
Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute
Enjoy an evening boat cruise and see Bermuda’s natural fireworks!
2012 DATES: June 6 & 7, July 5 & 6, August 3 & 4, September 2 & 3, October 1 & 2
BUEIMembers: $40 Non Members: $50
Call 292-7219 for booking and details www.buei.org
Check out this video of Glowworms putting on a show!