Last night I woke Zoe up to take her outside to see the fireflys..........It was spectacular. I am not sure she really knew what to make of it, being woken up and then standing outside in the dark during a thunderstorm!!! I do not think I have ever seen such a show!
Wow, how you glow!
Under your body
You light up below!
Wow, how you shine!
At night in the dark
I can see you just fine!
The Very Lonely Firefly
How much do you know about this magical insect?
* Lightning bugs! (Careful... It's spelled lightning, not lightening...) also called fireflies, are not not flies. They are beetles and part of a scientific family that contains the largest order of living things—290,000 species at last count!! The Firefly Family is technically known as the Lampyridae. In fact, there are about 136 different species of fireflies illuminating earth's summer nights.
* Glow-worms, which produce light similar to Lightning Bugs', also are beetles, but they belong to a different, though closely related, family, the Phengodidae.
* Good places to find fireflies are over meadows or lawns and at the edge of woods or streams.
* At night, the very end (the last abdominal segment) of the firefly glows a bright yellow-green color. The firefly can control this glowing effect. The brightness of a single firefly is 1/40 of a candle. Fireflies use their glow to attract other fireflies. Males flash about every five seconds; females flash about every two seconds. The light given off by fireflies during their abdominal flashes is called bioluminescence. Even the eggs and larvae of some firefly species glow.
* The adult fireflies signal each other with their lights and mate. Flashing Lightning Bugs are trying to attract mates. The female's eggs are laid a few days after mating, on or slightly under soil. The eggs hatch in 4 weeks. The larvae, once hatched, begin to feed until fall. They burrow underground and overwinter. Fireflies overwinter as larvae buried in the soil and emerge in the spring to feed. In summer, they pupate for about 2½ weeks within a small earthen cell before emerging as adults.
* Fireflies are carnivorous. As larvae they eat earthworms, snails and slugs, plus they may scavenge certain small dead animals and other organic material . Adult Lightning Bugs, who can live for several months, probably feed on plant nectar.
* This firefly is harvested by the biochemical industry for the organic compunds luciferin (which is the chemical the firefly uses for its bioluminescence).
Robert Frost - Fireflies in the Garden
Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can't sustain the part.
Edited on June 18th 07:
For more on Fireflies with kids check out this blog Switzerite Thursday June 14th