Bermuda Glow Worms
Glow worms or the fire worms in Bermuda create an unbelievable spectacle over the ocean in the dark. Such striking display takes place from May through November, once every month and 2 to 3 nights after the full moon. So if you can time it right, you can witness a spectacle rarely seen elsewhere in the world.
On the night of the display and about an hour after the sunset, you can see fire worms circling around the sea surface in the dark. They release a bright green glow that illuminates the entire water area.
Actually the female glow worms first rise from the muddy bottom of the bay and start going in circles above the sea surface while giving off the glows. They emit the bright green fluorescent chemical to attract the males who too shortly start shooting up from the bottom and join the spectacular game of lights while they mate. This is often called the Nature's Fireworks Show.
While a glow worm can grow to the size of 35mm, average female size is about 20mm and males are much smaller averaging to 12mm. These fire worms are usually found in the shallow bays around Bermuda and they live in the protected rocky bottoms. They swim up to the surface when the time comes for mating.
Bermuda Glow Worm Mating Dance
If you see carefully, you will notice that they mate as they fly. The female worms release bioluminescent slime to attract the males. And the males too flash the bioluminescence to indicate that they are approaching. Once the males come close, the females release eggs and the males then release sperms to fertilize them.
Upon mating, the male and the female worms release an explosion of glow into the water as if a firework took place. And you know that the mating ritual was completed between a couple. Thousands of them keep going in circles in a swarm looking to mate.
The mating ritual lasts for few minutes and takes place again next month. Many tourists while planning for their vacation, take into consideration the timing of this spectacular display. It was Christopher Columbus who first noticed this spectacle of glow worm mating dance in 1492. You can see it from the shore when it's dark.
How to witness the glow warms in Bermuda
1) A great place to watch this magical show is from the bridge at Ferry Reach Park
near the Whalebone Bay in St. George's parish, or at the Flatts Inlet. You can also sometimes see it at the Hamilton Harbor
2) Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute
(BUEI) and Bermuda Zoological Society both organize Glow Worm Cruises during the season so that you can go to the area and watch it from a close distance. For BUEI the rates are $50 per person ($40 if you are a member of the Institute). You can carry your snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. There is a cash bar on the boat. The time of cruise departure varies depending on the time of sunset. The spectacular display starts exactly 56 minutes after the sunset. The cruise leaves from the BUEI's own dock and goes to a calm area on the sea. You can call BUEI at 441/294-0204 or 292-7219 to get more information about booking the cruise tours.
3) If you are docked at a cruise ship pier in Royal Naval Dockyard, a good option is to take bus #7 or 8 and get off at the bus stop for Mangrove Bay Post Office in Somerset (about 10 minutes). Walk along Mangrove Bay Road (you will see the post office on your left). Walk for about 300 meters and you will reach a 'T' junction where the road ends and meets Cambridge Road. Turn right and go up to the end (100 meters) and you will reach a concrete pier overlooking the bay. Sit here and wait for the time when the glow worms begin their show... you may not be always lucky though.
4) The outfitter Ana Luna Adventures
offers a 3-hour boating tour on their catamaran to watch the glow warm mating dance. The boat leaves from the pier of Grotto Bay Beach Resort located at Hamilton Parish just before the Causeway as you drive towards east. You should book the tour in advance and they sail subject to minimum number of persons on board. The boat departs one hour before the sunset.
Visitors' Reviews & Comments
Steven (June 2017)
Raj, you are a wealth of information. I have been trying to reach BUEI to see if they are still doing glow worm boat tours in 2017 (no info on website) and if so how to make a reservation for 2 people. I sent my request through BUEI's contact page and also via the email address but have gotten no response. I can't find a toll-free number for the institute. BUEI would be the most convenient for us as our cruise ship will be docked at Hamilton pier. THANKS!
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) June 2017
Hello Steven, I suggest that you try to contact BUEI again after the America's Cup gets over. Everybody is busy with it now.
Brian (September 2015)
Hello Raj, My family and I will be in Bermuda from 11/26-11/30 and would like to see the glow worms (the full moon is November 25). Can you still see the glow worms in Flatts Inlet during November, and if so, is it from the Flatts Bridge? If you have any information on the glow worms, I would be most grateful. Thanks,
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) September 2015
This year the schedule for glow worms is up to October 1 (sunset 7:04pm) while the last BUEI cruise for the spectacle was on September 1, 2015. In November this year the chances are very low, but you can give it a try from the Flatts bridge. You might be able to see some if you are lucky, but not a whole bunch.