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Glow Worms in Big Bend?

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Offline SA Bill

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1999
Glow Worms in Big Bend?
« on: July 31, 2007, 09:10:29 PM »
For the entomologists in the group:
Are there any glow worms to be found in BB? Just curious. I encountered some a few years ago near Llano during a cold spell in Nov or Dec as I recall. They had a distinct bluish glow. It was too cold to explore them very much and I've always wondered about them.

I'm going to BB in October to look at stars, and maybe glow worms? In my years of camping in BB I've seen lots of critters but never anything with bioluminescense. Are there any glowing bugs in BB?
  Wondering,
    Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline JeffB

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    • http://www.astroforecast.org/bbindex.html
Glow Worms in Big Bend?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2007, 05:08:32 PM »
I've seen one crawling insect that has an intermittent glow.  My guess is that its a firefly larva, although I've never seen a firefly at BBNP.  Here's a picture of one belly-up on a rock.  In total darkness in the desert you can see these critters crawl about flashing like a firefly.



Also the millipede-killer.  Some species of millipede killer glow but I've never seen one glow in BBNP.  I'm curious about this myself.  At the top of the following discussion is the Big Bend millipede killer, and at bottom is a glowing one from Univ of Florida webpage. http://www.bigbendchat.com/viewtopic.php?p=19221#19221

Sounds like fun to get out there under the best stars in Texas.  I've got a trip coming up in September but probably will leave the scope at home.  Our gear gets too roughed-up during a 10 day trip and I don't want my scope to get treated like the rest of our camping gear.  I've got a compact William Optics 80mm apo triplet refractor that is compact and travels well, but my mount is big and bulky.
Jeff Bullard
Dallas, TX

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Offline SA Bill

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1999
Glow Worms in Big Bend?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2007, 06:29:47 PM »
Hey Jeff!
Yep, I think that is a pic of a glow worm! At least it looks like the pics I found on the web. I'll have to do some closer looking when I'm out there in October. Did it have a blue glow? Was it in the desert or the high country?

Speaking of fireflies, we've had a bumper crop at the house this year. The wet weather has allowed for two hatchings. Normally we'll get the first hatch in late May and then it gets dry and there aren't any more until the next year. Last night I was looking just after sunset and there were dozens of fireflies winking in the back yard. I love them! I don't use any insecticides in the yard for fear wiping the larvae out and not having any more flashers.

At my age and stage, my trips to BB have evolved from being hiking driven, with star gazing as a side interest, to being mostly about observing with a little hiking thrown in if I feel like it. Soooo...I take the "big gun" scope (14.5") and set it up and leave it up until I leave, weather permitting. It's a style that works for me. Two years ago I had a group from the site down the road come over at sunset because they wondered what I was doing with the odd looking (to them) telescope. I had the priviledge of showing Saturn to a lady who was at least 70 and had never looked through a scope before. She spent a long time quietly looking through the eyepiece. When she pulled back from looking, she had tears in her eyes and couldn't stop thanking me for letting her have a look. It was truly a moving experience for her, and for me.

That WO 80mm shouldn't need much of a mount for quick looks. Maybe even a lightweight tripod which can double for self portraits during the day. I've done that with my 80mm Photon refractor out there. Only problem was a wind gust of 35-40mph blew the whole tripod/scope combo over one evening.

Here's a pic of THE scope for BB in the late summer/early fall. It's a 5" f/5 refractor. Sweeping through the milky way star clouds is an awe inspiring sight every time I do it. With the "big gun" for close up looks and the 5" for RF (richest field) views, I'm in heaven when it's clear out in BB! Add a pair of good binocs for puttering around while laying on the ground and there's nothing more needed. At least as far as star gazing goes.

Thanks for the pic and info. I'll be sure to look hard in October to see if I can find something that glows in the dark.
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

 


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