Help track Peak glow worms

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THE public are being asked to help naturalists discover where glow worms live across the Peak District and Derbyshire.

Right now is peak glowing time for this tiny beetle. The bright green light of the female shines out to attract a mate on warm summer nights in June.

Peak District National Park ecologists, Derbyshire countryside rangers and naturalists are conducting surveys and asking anyone who has seen a glow worm to send in details. No matter whether seen this year, or anytime in the past few decades, it all helps conservationists determine which sites to visit, protect or manage.

Of particular interest this year are the sides of old railways tracks which have now been turned into cycle and walking routes where survey work is being supported by SITA Trust.

National Park ecologist Rebekah Newman said: “We’d very much welcome people’s help on this, especially if they have records of their sightings going back a few years.

“Because glow worms only glow after dark in midsummer, it has proved difficult to amass detailed records from right across Derbyshire and the Peak District. It’s possible that they are more widespread in limestone dales and grasslands or alongside trails and railway lines than we know of. Many of our records are now up to 30 years old, so it would be really valuable to get an up to date picture.”

Naturalists think that UK glow worm numbers are declining, possibly due to degradation of their habitat, but also light pollution which can prevent the males and females getting together. The larvae live for two years, but when they pupate into adult glow worms they no longer feed, giving them a very short lifespan in which to breed.

Nick Moyes, formerly of Derby Museum, has been studying glow worms in Derbyshire since the 1990s and has been commissioned to help the survey.

Nick said: “With the public’s help we can find out a lot more about glow worm sites than we would if we had just looked for them ourselves. I’m helping to survey the Tissington, High Peak and Monsal Trails this June, and would love to receive details of any sightings of glow worms here, or anywhere else in Derbyshire or the Peak District.”

Glow worms have been reported from as far south as Derby and Calke, right up to Markland Grips, Grindleford and Taxal.

Anyone lucky enough to spot the green glow of this insect is asked to email details of where they were seen and when to wildlife@peakdistrict.gov.uk or write to Nick Moyes at Glow Worm Survey, Peak District National Park HQ, Aldern House, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1AE.