The Common Glow-worm is a nocturnal beetle and not a worm like its name suggests. It can be found on open grassland, grass verges and on heaths, especially in the south of England. It has the name ‘Glow-worm’ because it can emit a pale green light from its body when it is dark. However, it is usually only the female that glows to attract males in June to July.
The male Common Glow-worm is about one and a half centimetres long and has a dark brown body. It has two pairs of black wings. It uses its second pair of wings to fly and the first pair of wings to cover and protect the flying wings. The female is around two centimetres long and has a brown segmented body with no wings. The light glows from the last three abdominal segments on her body.
The female Glow-worm dies soon after she lays her eggs and the larvae that hatch out of the egg are black. They can immediately glow their tails very faintly. They have six legs and thirteen body segments with no wings. Larvae usually remain in their larva form for around two years and feed on small snails by sucking the fluids out of their bodies. After two years the larvae lie very still on their backs and develop into fully-grown Common Glow-worms. Both the male and the female only live as adults for around two to three weeks.