Thursday, July 24, 2014

The summer night fairies - the fireflies

Fireflies are actually beetles, not flies as its name imply. They are nocturnal beetles which are under the family Lampyridae.

Fireflies make up to more or less 2,000 number of species. In some countries, the number of their presence in the evenings are signs of approaching or ending summers, where they are most abundant in warm summer nights. These bugs love moisture and are mainly found in humid regions of America and Asia. However, they can also be found on drier countries where damp areas are present.

Photo by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu of Okayama City, shot using long exposure, time lapse, and digital imagery

An average firefly in the wild can survive for up to 2 months and grow up to 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters, almost the size of a common paper clip.

Photo credit : Jessica Lucia

What makes them glow

Fireflies have light organs under their abdomens. They take in oxygen which is processed by their cells inside that make up the combination of a substance called luciferin – a compound that triggers a bioluminescent reaction. However, how they are turned on and off by the fireflies remain unknown by scientists. Each subspecies also flicker its light in a unique pattern that plays a role in the mating process.

Aside from that, their light may also be a defense mechanism to convey its unappetizing taste to predators. The fact that even larvae are luminescent lends support to this theory.

Source here.

No comments:

Post a Comment