Nature’s Mysterious Lanterns – the Firefly
Take some time this summer to enjoy nature’s lightshow compliments of the firefly.
As you watch their display you may begin wondering how and why these insects generate their flashes of light. Fireflies have organs under their abdomens with special cells dedicated to producing light. The fireflies take in oxygen and combine it with a substance called luciferin to generate the light.
Each of the 2,000 species of fireflies produces its own unique pattern of flashing light. This helps them find potential mates and possibly fend off predators. Even the larvae are able to generate these light patterns and they help gardeners by feeding on snails and slugs.
But their populations are dwindling, scientists believe due to loss of habitat and possibly light pollution. Help preserve their habitat, turn off the lights and enjoy the firefly show.
A bit more information: Most firefly species, also known as lightning bugs, thrive in undisturbed fields, forests and marshes. But you will find firefly species in various warm, temperate, dry, moist and humid regions. Help researchers gather data on fireflies right from your own backyard. Sign up to be a part of a citizen scientist project known as Firefly Watch.