National Geographic : 1971 Jul
actually they are found all over New Zealand - in the bush, on highway embankments, under bridges, in scores of other caves, and in any damp and sheltered place. I've kept spec imens for months in plaster of Paris 'caves' down in my cellar." Ian joined me for a few days of field work. Our first stop was a cave near the village of Waipu, about 65 miles north of Auckland. We parked at the edge of a cow pasture, pulled on rubber boots and checked our flashlights, then made off to an opening on a hill slope. We moved into gloom, then darkness, as we followed a slippery trail along a winding stream. Here and there we waded, but mostly we skidded on the stream's muddy banks. Smaller Cave Makes Close-ups Easy Finally we came to a pool opening into a grotto not nearly as extensive as Waitomo's, but starry with the little light producers. The effect was charming rather than magnificent. With many of the larvae fastened at eye level, close-up observation was easy. While Ian wandered off on his own, I focused on a single larva, whose light quickly went off in response to my flashlight. Both the tube which the worm occupied and the crea ture's skin were so transparent that I could make out the inhabitant's internal organs. This tubular nest extended horizontally about two and a half times the length of the inch long tenant and was roomy enough to allow it to glide back and forth on an inner lining KODACHROME(ABOVE)ANDEKTACHROMES BY ROBERTJONES© N.G.S. Fireflies yield pocket money at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where Photinus pyralis abounds. Pursuing the familiar creatures with nets (left), expert foragers may capture as many as 250 an evening; a collector (below) eyes her catch. Each morning the youngsters market their fireflies (above), which the buyer will freeze in dry ice and air express to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where scientists probe the mysteries of bioluminescence.