Silchester Wildlife Diary: July Highlights

July probably sees the richest month of the whole year in terms of the sheer number and variety of different animals and flowers flourishing in and around Silchester.

For me though, there is no question about what should feature as the highlight of Silchester’s wildlife diary for July – it is the annual display of glow-worms that can be seen on the common.

Female Glow-worm

The early part of July invariably sees an amazing display of glow-worms light up the darkness of the common. The glow-worm is actually a beetle. The males are small and can fly but don’t produce light. The females have no wings but they have the amazing ability to produce light in their own bodies (bioluminescence). They use this light to attract the males by climbing up plant stems and glowing a brilliant shade of bright emerald green. As soon as the female has mated she turns off her glow – pretty much instantaneously.

This amazing natural sight only happens for a few short weeks every July (usually in the early part of the month). It takes the larvae about three years to reach maturity and so the intensity of the display varies from year to year.

 

If you’ve never seen a glow worm on the common then I highly recommend that you go out after dark in the first few weeks of July and take a look. If you don’t feel safe going out after dark on your own then please feel free to join me for a group walk on Wednesday 7th July. I am meeting outside the Calleva at 9.45pm and will take people out on the common to see how many of these creatures we can find. We last did this walk in 2019 and one of the participants was holding a female in their hand when a male landed on her and mated with her right there and then!