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The Lie: Evolution


A Worm With Warning Lights

By Garry K. Brantley

In the darkness of its hideaway beneath logs and rocks, or under the ground, the railroad worm usually goes unnoticed. Its dull brown color helps keep it safely hidden from its enemies.

But at nighttime, when the railroad worm is active, it is a worm of a different color. It crawls out of its hideaway under the cover of darkness to hunt for food. Measuring only about 2 ½ inches long when full-grown, the female railroad worm appears to be easy prey. But God has given her an effective defense mechanism against would-be attackers.

If she feels threatened, she suddenly turns on her warning lights. Her head glows a fiery red, and her body gives off a greenish-yellow light. This amazing display of lights warns an attacker to “get back!” And, usually, the startled predator quickly retreats. The railroad worm also turns on her lights when attacking other creatures and when mating.

The lights are a product of a chemical reaction inside the body of the railroad worm. Amazingly, however, this little creature is able to turn its lights on and off at will. And the railroad worm can turn on all its lights at once, or a few at a time.

Everywhere we look inour world, we see evidence of God—from birds that soar in the sky to creatures like the railroad worm that stay mostly hidden beneath rocks and logs. In their own special ways, they show the glory of God Who created them and us.


The railroad worm really isn’t a worm. It is the larva of the Phrixothrix beetle. Its name, which means “with bristling hairs”, refers to the tiny hairs covering its body.

The light produced by living things is called bioluminescence (bye-oh-LOO-meh-NESS-sence), which means “living light”.

The railroad worm lives in South and Central America.

The railroad worm got its name because of the way it looks when it is glowing. Its body lights look like the windows of a train at night, and the red head resembles a bright red headlight.

Male and female railroad worms are different in several ways. Male railroad worms are about half the size of females. Males have wings when full-grown; females do not. Only the females can make their heads glow fiery red.

The railroad worm has eleven spots on each side of its body that shine a pale greenish-yellow.

Discovery February 1996 pg. 12