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That Beautiful Glow In The Dark?

Updated on August 29, 2009

Summer nights bring a special glow out my window that has an unique beauty that is magical.  On moonless evenings these amazing insects can be seen in so many different areas and the effects create an almost three dimensional aluminous painting.

How many of us remember as children of chasing or seeking out these magical insects. We put them in jars that we had poked holes in the lid, and made our own lams that led the way through those dark places that we would not have explored otherwise. It was always a great contest to see how many one could collect.

The common names that most people identify with this magic is fireflies and lighting bugs. They are neither flies or are they bugs, they are actually Beatles. The majority of fireflies are winged, which distinguishes them from the same family known as "glowworm."

There are about 2,000 different species. They live in moist warm environments. We all recognize there signature glow by there unique signals of light. This insect takes in oxygen and combines it with a substance called luciferin and the enzyme to produce light.

They are long and narrow, about ½-inch, with a black head, a reddish section behind the head with a dark middle and flexible dark brown wings.

In some species the females are wingless and appear similar to larvae.  Wingless females have structures that produce light and are called "glow-worms."

Different species have different flash patterns and the flashes of firefly females differ from those of the males in the same species.  Firefly flashing are mating signals, yet it may also serve as a warning to potential predators.  Predators of fireflies include frogs, spiders and some birds.  Studies have shown that the firefly is quite bitter in taste.  The firefly is a carnivorous insect that eats other insects and has been observed eating those in their own species.

Larvae and adults are nocturnal.  They immobilize their prey by injecting them with a toxic digestive enzymes, before sucking out their body contents.

In the winter at the larval stage their chambers are formed in the soil.  They pupate in the spring and emerge in early summer.  After mating the females lay eggs singly or in groups in damp soil.  The larvae hatch in approximately 4 weeks.  The life cycle of most species take two years.

Fireflies are disappearing all over the world, and it's believed to be because of human encroachment on habitat and increased light pollution from development.  It is also known that chemical pesticides and weed killers may also have a negative effect on the firefly populations.



♥  We should all be in awe of the animals and insects for their beauty that they display.

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    • Ginn Navarre profile imageAUTHOR

      Ginn Navarre 

      9 years ago

      G-Ma, its like stars twinkling on the lawn. You have to be were it is warm & moist. Yet like every thing else we are destorying them with our way of life and chemicals.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Wow I have never seen one ever...and loved the video..Thanks :O) Hugs

    • Ginn Navarre profile imageAUTHOR

      Ginn Navarre 

      9 years ago

      cindy, yes I agree and there doesn't seem to be an end to it---money & greed rule!

      Hey Cris, you are lucky ---see them while you can. There are many things and places that I an others have seen ---that are no longer there---sad-sad. I too love the Wildlife Specials and see a lot of them.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Miss Ginn

      I still see fireflies every now and then. Luckily for me, I live in the part of the city where trees and real plants still abound. But unfortunately, seeing fireflies is now a matter of luck.

      Btw, there's this one African desert wherein, when all the elements are in tune, thousands of glowing termites go out of their mounds to mate. It's a sight to behold, like all the stars come down to earth to dazzle and blind! Saw that on a BBC Wildlife Special DVD :D

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 

      9 years ago from Cape Town

      There are so many things we're busy killing off! It's shocking!

    • Ginn Navarre profile imageAUTHOR

      Ginn Navarre 

      9 years ago

      Jerilee, yes that song was very popular with the Mills Brothers version. Your brothers garden is lit up nightly with them flashing. Love ya.

    • Ginn Navarre profile imageAUTHOR

      Ginn Navarre 

      9 years ago

      Teresa, sometimes those moments of maybe sitting there looking out into their glowing--- they are also creating a moment or two for each of us to just stop and enjoy, that we would not have taken with out them.

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Boy do I remember that song!  When we were kids Disney had a cartoon that included it and it was sung in grade school.  Liked the Mills Brothers version.  Haven't seen them here in Florida. Excellent hub Mom!

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 

      9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      I remember the first time I saw lightening bugs, and how enchanting it was. Thanks for reminding me of their beauty.

    • profile image

      France 

      9 years ago

      Hi Ginn,

      I can't explain with words the beautiful feeling fireflies bring to me. I don't want them to be extinct and this is the reason I am so committed to environmental protection and conservation initiatives.

    • Ginn Navarre profile imageAUTHOR

      Ginn Navarre 

      9 years ago

      Thanks MindField, I agree but some are not listening and Mother Nature has a way of making those pay back?

    • MindField profile image

      MindField 

      9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Your last paragraph is so true, so sad, Ginn. We are killing off all that the Good God and Mother Nature have given us.

      Could we ever begin to imagine a more magical world than this one, filled with creatures of such beauty and mystery and drama and delightful comedy to thrill us all for a million years? Can we not feel for that proud parent who has spent tremendous thought and energy creating a magnificent gift - only to watch his child tear it to pieces, destroying it bit by bit, and leaving nothing but death and destruction behind?

      We owe deepest respect to everything that has been created for our joy, our health, and our life - yet we have ceased to show that respect. When will we open our hearts and our eyes to the fireflies and all they stand for?

      I say now, now, now...and I know you say so, too. Thank you very much for this special hub.

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