On the third, fourth and fifth night after the full moon, a phenomenon occurs in the shallows of the Turks and Caicos Island’s Caicos Banks. About one hour after sunset, for 15 minutes, the marine worm, Odontosyllis enopla, performs a bioluminesent mating ritual. Odontosyllis enopla, known locally in the Turks and Caicos as “glowworms”, can only be found in shallow waters around the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Bermuda to the north.
During this display, the females rapidly swim to the surface and emit a bright green fluorescent chemical that cues the males, who soon follow. Multiple males will respond to a single female and will also produce small bursts of light while swimming towards her. For a few seconds, males and females will swim together in a tight circle while releasing their eggs and sperm, before heading back to the sea floor until the next full moon.
The number of mating displays may change from month to month, but the spawning cycle is dictated by lunar and solar patterns happening only a few nights of each month.