In the depths of these caves in Waitomo, New Zealand, lies a unique galaxy-like spectacle created entirely by worms.
In a place far away from the celestial vault, poetry is transformed into luminescence. The caves of galaxies are hidden in the depths of the earth and resemble a secluded universe.
The luminescent dance of the stars through the bright night is reflected in our eyes as we gaze into the celestial vault. The contrast of blackness with bewitching sparkles in the sky makes us lose ourselves in the immensity of the truly profound. Then a feeling of recovery invades the soul and transforms us into something else, something we did not know before.
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Almost instinctively, we look for the skies to enjoy the spectacle of luminescence, but what if the sky is not the only place that offers us poetry turned into a visual experience. Most caves are the antithesis of the celestial vault, reduced spaces of pure blackness, but in the Waitomo region of New Zealand, there is a unique universe of its kind.
Caves appear to be more like a labyrinth formed by winding tunnels of galaxies that have existed for 30 million years. And as amazing as it may seem, the most exquisite visual experience is found deep inside.
The ceiling of the cave in New Zealand looks like thousands of sparkles forming galaxies of blue stars. The luminescence that borders on the ethereal is produced by the so-called luminous worms called Arachnocampa Luminosa, which after releasing their eggs, use a complex and exquisite strategy to feed.
An endless cycle that feeds visual poetry
The worms create silk nets hanging from the cave ceiling, from which they drop dozens of sticky threads around their nest. All that remains is to wait on the ceiling, for a living thing to make its way to the radiant and silent death of falling into the luminescent traps. When at last, success is achieved, and prey is entangled in the silken threads, the worms pull it to put an end to its existence.
These glow worms are the epitome of ephemeral life. Once they reach adulthood, they become insects that run the risk of being devoured by their own larvae. A never-ending cycle that keeps the visual poetry of the cave alight with its great luminescent flashes.
But great care must be taken if you want to see the spectacle in its full splendor. The worms are sensitive to noise, if they become aware of it then they become frightened and stop glowing. So visitors must remain completely silent if they want to appreciate the cave with flashes of blue galaxies; there is no silence more worthwhile than this.
Text courtesy of Ecoosfera
Photos by Neil Silverwood