I remember when I was a child, I was running with my sister, in my mom’s beautiful garden, overlooking the Mediterranean sea and tens of centenary olive trees, and we were exploring the nature, smelling these intoxicating flower perfumes mixed with the fresh evening sea breeze, and our favorite activity was to try to catch fireflies… but where are they now ? Have you ever wondered when was the last time you saw a firefly?
** Update **
Over the last 20 years I have lived in states all up & down the west coast of the United States. I have spent time in a lot of different places ranging from Montana to Nevada to Oregon. I have yet to lay my eyes on a firefly in all of that time. It can’t be blamed on a lack of trying either. I have always spent time outdoors in nature & if they were there I would likely have seen them. It is terribly sad because they are such a beautiful creature. Everyone should be able to see them!
** More Recent Update **
My husband and I just moved to the east coast this past fall to work for a firm along the Gulf coast. The attic of our new home was filled with very old posters and movie lobby cards from the silent era. And it turns out that many are actually valuable. I found a website where you can sell vintage film posters – Ralph Deluca is the resident expert and he will appraise your posters as well as buy them. It was very exciting to discover these lost treasures of the by-gone movies were sought after by collectors – there’s an entire industry focused on this. Our good luck! Come spring we were walking along the coast where we live at dusk. And all of a sudden, little specks of light began sparkling in the lawns along the park that runs next to the Hudson River. I was astounded. There were fireflies flitting about in the early evening’s darkening light. I was thrilled to see them after their long absence this past winter.
The sad fact is that these beautiful creatures are disappearing. And the two main reasons are development and pollution. Fireflies always choose to live in a warm , humid environment, and near standing water. The problem is that all rivers, ponds, streams and ocean have a lot of noisy boat traffic, so fireflies vanish from these areas… and just disappear. Also, the use of pesticides is increasing, and they are not surviving to this plague.
This fact is really sad. These little creatures are very interesting. What most people don’t know is that they emit light to attract mates, to communicate, but also to defend their territory and warn predators away.
The most interesting fact is that they are the most efficient light in the world, and they produce 100 % light, and no heat, as opposed as light bulbs that produce 10 % light and 90 % heat. The reason of it is that fireflies tails has a chemical called luciferin that’s heat resistant.
Less glamorous : some fireflies species feed on other fireflies… but not only, they also eat snails and worms, and sometimes pollen and nectar.
They usually live for a year. When they reach their adult maturity, they mate and they give birth to the next generation of fireflies before dying.
You could find fireflies almost everywhere on the planet. Everywhere except Antarctica, obviously, where fireflies are necessary for even a quick trip to the restroom! But all other continents have at least one area where it’s warm and humid.
Last but not least, if put in electronic detectors placed in a spacecraft, life in outer space could be detected thanks to the chemical they have in their tail.