On Finding a Glow Grub

So what were you doing at 11:00 last night? Me? I was on my knees in the dark trying to photograph a grub of sorts that caught my eye when I was checking my new solar powered sidewalk light (safety precaution for a step in the sidewalk that can be missed in the dark). Walking back toward the front door, I spotted something glowing rather brightly at the edge of the walk. Using me pocket light, I found that it was a yellowish larva slowly crawling up from the dark recesses at the edge of the lawn.  I was amazed.

Now I’ve been walking to and fro upon the earth for several decades and had of course seen fireflies—and I have seen bioluminescent little creatures on ocean beaches and some in ocean waters.  But a grub that glows—in Michigan?  Was this something new in nature? Had I discovered the first wave of some weird invasive species? One thing was certain: I had to try to capture a photo of it using the timed exposure mode on my camera. So I picked it up and put it in plastic container and brought into the house—even showing it to Marge, who had almost entered the land of nod. “What did I marry?” must have come to her mind for the umpteenth time!

Well, the results of my endeavor are here now posted for all to see. Isn’t it a wonder?! (the bug, not my photos!). The photos are certainly not Nat Geo quality, but they do justice to the phenomenon. And, of course, I had to power up my computer again and go do a Google image search for it. So what is it? A firefly larva. The fact that I had never seen one before humbles me again, and keeps me from thinking I’m some sort of expert on God’s natural wonders. I have to repeat again the verse that appears on our masthead: “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 9:10).

You can learn more about firefly larvae on this Website about “the evolution of bioluminescence”  including the conclusion that “the bioluminescence reactions are believed to have evolved independently in adults and larvae, so there is still much left to explain about these structural differences (Oertel et al. 1975).”  Now, I know that most Christian biologists today believe in some sort of evolution, which, of course, they also believe is a God-ordained and God-superintended process.  But I have to confess that I simply can’t wrap my mind around a conclusion that bioluminescence in larval fireflies “evolved independently” from the same phenomenon in adult fireflies!  I’m glad they’re still humble enough to say, “There is still much left to explain.”  It strikes me more forcefully with every new mystery of life revealed that “evolution” must just be their code word for God.