Summertime is filled with ice cream, childhood memories….and bugs. Some of these bugs are downright nasty, like yellow jackets and hornets! However, there are some bugs that are absolutely terrific, like the firefly!
Although the name hints at the insect being a fly, fireflies are actually beetles. According to the Mother Nature Network, fireflies have a chemical in their abdomen called luciferin. This chemical combines with oxygen, calcium and adenosine triphosphate to produce the most efficient light in the world. The energy produced by this chemical reaction is emitted as almost 100 percent light; whereas a standard incandescent lightbulb will emit only 10 percent of its energy as light, while the other 90 percent is lost to heat. That’s quite a difference!
Another cool fact about these bugs are there ability to synchronize their flashes. Scientists have not pinned down the exact reason why they do this, but they suspect they are trying to catch the attention of the females. Males will flash their lights in a specific pattern to attract the attention of potential mates, then, if the female deems the male a worthy suitor, she will also flash a specific pattern to signal a mating call. Take a look at these cool bugs in action!
Fireflies are an amazing part of nature and really show just what nature is capable of. However, their numbers are dwindling, possibly due to light pollution. A simple way to help the fireflies is to keep your porch light turned off at night and the curtains drawn. The lights make it harder for the fireflies to mate because they cannot see each other’s mating signals.