Glow worms shine on the Tarka Trail

TINY lights along the Tarka Trail have pointed a survey team to glow worms which are living there.

Four volunteers from the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Biosphere Service (NDABS) took to their bikes to carry out a night-time glow worm survey along the trail.

The team cycled 16 miles along the trail from Fremington to East Yarde and discovered 17 of the unusual creatures.

Team leader Tom Hynes said: “I was not sure whether we would see any glow worms, so it was exciting when we spotted the first one near Fremington Quay, just after dusk. The trail is a wonderful wildlife corridor and there have been plenty of records of glow worms in the past, but I was not sure if they were still there and not sure if the weather would be suitable for them to shine their lights.”

Glow worms are not actually worms, but insects. Their larvae live on snails and it is thought that the limestone ballast along the Tarka Trail‘s former railway route attracts snails for them.


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Volunteer Rupert Hawley said: “The final three sections of the female glow worm’s body glows in order to attract a mate. The females only live for three weeks or so, during which time they will hopefully have been mated and laid eggs.”

NDABS are keen to hear of any other glow worm sightings on the trail, or further afield in the Biosphere Reserve. Anyone seeing glow worms or who would like some training prior to carrying out glow worm surveys should contact Tom Hynes of NDABS on (01237) 423655.

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