Project Glow worm?

Here is an idea that we would like to raise with members:

That CMG steer a project that seeks to update records in the county of glow worm colonies – and if the conditions allow, look at the creation of new colonies in suitable sites.

The inspiration for this is Pancrasweek Meadow in Devon (on Twitter as KeepitWild).  Many of you may have spotted last year (and even contributed to) a crowdfunding drive to raise money to buy up a small meadow which was up for auction, had not been agriculturally improved, but which was surrounded by intensively farmed grassland.  The land was successfully purchased and now sits in a newly formed trust.  A new crowd funder is now up and running to raise funds to reintroduce glow worms to the land.  What a great idea – but can we do something here too?

Glow worms are in the county – and are almost certainly under recorded.  Our spring meeting talk on invertebrates (by Annie Haycock) will include some introductory material on these rarely seen creatures.  Glow worms face many threats including habitat loss, pesticides, light pollution and apparently even the feet of those coming to watch the glow (which can squash the small flightless females on the ground).  Could it be that amongst land owned by CMG members there are quiet grassland spots where glow worms could just get on with the job of being and glowing?

An outline of a possible plan:

  1. Publicise far and wide the need to update the records.  There is a user friendly App for smart phones produced by Local Environmental Records Centres Wales (LERC Wales) which makes recording (and collating those records) easy.
  2. Ideally we want to generate a) updated county wide records and b) CMG records.  
  3. We could extend the search via the Ceredigion Meadows Group to that county but they would need to manage the search and recording in their area.
  4. The job of looking for glow worms would be for this summer – this year’s active period during mid June to early August.
  5. Once the records are updated, then we see what is out there.  Where do glow worms still thrive? What conditions do they thrive in in this county? How varied are the sites across which they are living? How big are the colonies at the sites?
  6. Then we might look at sites with suitable habitat to consider introduction of colonies or protection and enhancement.

We are seeking to making contact with the KeepitWild project to understand better their costings and intended approach.

We want to keep this idea simple and manageable.  CMG members are already in the process of mapping their land (on a confidential basis).  We really want to use the strategic information that this gives – and put it to a practical purpose.  

I would hope that there is time to discuss the potential for “Project Glow worm” at our meeting on 21 March. There is significant expertise we can draw upon for the project, if this is something that CMG members would like to get behind.

Below is a map produced from the data held by LERC Wales which indicates the current reported colonies. My thanks to LERC Wales and WWBIC for allowing it’s use in connection with this post.

On the back of this preliminary exercise we will also ask for records of the Forester Moth –

another threatened species but where recording is the first stage of analysis. I will do a separate post for that.

I look forward to any comments you have – and discussing it further at our spring meeting.


11 thoughts on “Project Glow worm?

  1. That’s interesting

    I’ve submitted records from our farm to the UK Glow worm survey for a number of years, and had assumed these would be shared with the records centre, but they don’t appear on the map.




    • That is interesting as you say….are you coming to the meeting? We need to get to the bottom of the recording systems. I will pass that comment on – as I’ve had a similar experience with a different recording system for a different species and we want to get this right.


  2. Can’t be there on the 21st as in London
    but thoroughly support the idea and offer our meadow if you are looking for a site near woodland


    • Derek – it would be so lovely if we can establish new colonies and grow existing ones. I don’t know that I don’t have them if you see what I mean – are you sure you don’t? It could be that I haven’t been in the right place at the right time….this summer I will have an organised meander to see.


  3. rather interested in this – it was one of the ideas I had for our own little piece of land (in Llanteg). My initial conclusion – which was a few years ago now – was that no-one else had done it, so it would be difficult to do. However, this sounds like the wind of change I was waiting for!


    • I hope so Kevin – see on 21 March? Lots to think about to get this right – but that’s not an insurmountable challenge surely…….


      • I’ve had a long think about this …. given the issues sweeping the country at the moment, and recent events, I think I had better not come to this meeting – doesn’t mean I won’t come to others and join in then (given my background, I’d like to think I can help!), it’s just that the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our choices for now …. and cleanliness, distancing and isolation are the first lines of defence with these things, despite what official comments may say. So, apologies for now.


  4. Kevin – I’m just posting the confirmation that we are postponing our meeting – given current circumstances. You should have had an email confirmation in any event – and its up on the Facebook page.


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