Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Glow worms & Fireflies.

We had two night excursions to see the fireflies & glow worms. These are not related to American fireflies or *lightening bugs*. I know; I asked. The glow worms are light sensitive so no cameras & the pics are thanks to Gary's research site. I can't say Ditz was all that thrilled with the glow worms though these little maggots emit their light from 'body wastes'. Body waste is excreted either as a gas, as water or as light. Gary described the flashing of the fireflies as farts, which totally delighted Ditz's cruder inclinations. The maggots must eat all they need to reproduce in the maggot stage as the adult firefly has no mouth & cannot feed. (Yeah, I was fascinated; Ditz played with the dog!)

The next night we scrambled into Gary's jeep to be taken down the back of his property & deep into Yowie territory to see the fireflies. We stuck Sian in the front. She has a Yowie thing. It's not that I'm a disbeliever exactly, I just think the probability of seeing one given all the noise we were making (& remember we had Ditz with us!) was extremely remote.

Hurtling round a mountainside in the pitch black along the edge of a precipice is much more Ditz's sort of thing, appealing as it does to her theatrical inclinations. There were just the 4 of us & Gary had us counting fireflies for his research & happily told us the difference between male & female flashes (the females remain stationary). This is a unique colony as two different species of firefly live cheek by jowl & Gary is trying to determine how they sort out their mating. The mind boggles at what occupies a scientist's mind!

It truly was like standing in a fairy land with little tinkerbells flitting here, there & everywhere... Then Gary handed Ditz His firefly catcher. Once she got her first one the child was completely enchanted & happily scooted round the rocky terrain in the pitch dark nabbing fireflies. She got one of each species & one female ~ grand total of 4!

It was one thing to hurtle down into the valley, quite another to get back out after the light rainfall we'd been having. The narrow track was incredibly slippery & at some point the jeep simply refused to go forward any more & began a long downhill slide. Now my dad owned property, usually steep property, so the perils of rough terrain are not unknown to us & we happily sat while Gary apologised, climbed out & hooked up the winch to winch us over the unnavigable bit. The second time he had to hoy us all out of the jeep & Ditz & I had fun teasing Sian (booga~wooga~woo) that we were all alone, deep in the bush, in Yowie country! Yeah, well, you know, we love Sian & she's a good sport.

I think Ditz enjoyed the fireflies the most of anything we did. Sian & I were too slow for her on the walks & the walks were mostly a bit long. The four hour one did her in & she is refusing to consider the Warrie circuit. I told her if she won't walk it she can't come next time & she had such a lovely time overall I can't see her agreeing to be left behind next time.

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