Bermuda Fireworm (Odontosyllis enopla)
The mating ritual of the Bermuda Fireworm (Odontosyllis enopla) or “glow worm” is the stuff of Bermudian legends. Many an apprehensive visitor has been dragged down to the seashore in the dark to witness the spectacle. The event happens every month in the summer on the third night after the full moon, beginning promptly 56 minutes after sunset.
The female worms appear first, swimming up from the bottom of muddy bays to make circles at the sea surface. The ladies begin to give off an intense green glow as they do this, like little marine fireflies. All this glowing, while a magical spectacle for human observers, is designed to attract the attention of the male fireworms at the bottom of the bay. Careful observers will see the small male worm shoot up to the surface to meet and mate with a circling female. Don’t blink or you will miss it!
Fireworms can be observed from the bridge at Ferry Reach Park, in Flatts Inlet and sometimes in Hamilton Harbour. Both the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute and Bermuda Zoological Society offer ‘glow worm cruises’, consult their websites for details.
Full moons for summer 2012:
June 4th, July 3rd, August 2nd, August 31st (blue moon), September 30th, October 29th
Sunset times can be found through the Bermuda Weather Service at this link.
Additional Fireworm Information:
Bermuda’s Marine Life, by Wolfgang Sterrer. Page 72.