Glow worm sighted at old landfill site near Cricklade

Glow worm
Image caption The glow worm (Lampyris noctiluca) is a beetle that resembles an elongated woodlouse

The sight of a glow worm at a former Cricklade landfill site is proof work to turn it into a nature haven is paying off, says a wildlife trust.

Sandpool Farm nature reserve was used as a dumping ground for builder's rubble up until 2008.

Since then, with funding from the Wiltshire recycling firm Hills Group, the Wiltshire Wildlfe Trust has transformed the site.

Community wildlife officer Neil Pullen said he was "pleased" with the results.

He added: "We realised we had glow worms while we were carrying out a survey for reptiles at Sandpool.

"We put mats down around the reserve to see what would shelter under them, and when we turned them over we found glow worm larvae.

"So we set out on a night hunt for the insects and when we were on the brink of giving up, we spotted the bright glow shining from a low bank we had created no more than a year ago.

"By then it was well past the peak glowing period, which is during June and July evenings, so we were thrilled to see one and are hoping for more next year. The amount of larvae indicates they are probably widespread around the reserve."

Only adult female worms glow. As they can not fly they emit a strong greenish-yellow light from the last few segments of their abdomens to attract the flying males.

The glow worm (Lampyris noctiluca) is a beetle that resembles an elongated woodlouse.

It is thought to be in decline with changes in habitat and increasing light pollution being part of the problem - males are attracted to artificial lighting which is thought to distract them from finding females.

Mr Pullen said: "The bank is the last place I would have thought of looking for them because it is so new. As we develop the site further we can expect greater numbers of glow worms.

"Next year we'll do a proper survey of glow worms now that we know we've got them."

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