Papua New Guinea
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Lightning Bugs – Fireflies


You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
’Cause they fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
Adam R. Young, ‘Fireflies’

Every spring, there is an unconcealable energy brewing in the forest, and everything is about to move.

When it comes out. When the day was sinking and night, the day’s neon clothes and feathers quietly faded away, and the colourful world was gradually covered by the curtain of dark night, and it was hard to tell whether it was yellow, red or green.

However, despite this, it still cannot stop the symphony of frogs sounding in the distance, nor can it cover up the clear calls of owls in the forest.

In the dark night, our eyes are covered, and through hearing and smell, we still understand that the earth is full of life. The biological code belonging to the mysterious night is waiting for those who are willing to answer it.

How can the nature at night be lonely in this season when the fireflies are in full bloom.

The Lampyridae are a family of elateroid beetles with more than 2,000 described species, many of which are light-emitting.

They are soft-bodied beetles commonly called fireflies, lightning bugs, or glowworms for their conspicuous production of light, mainly during twilight, to attract mates.

It can be divided into three types according to the habitat environment. They are: aquatic fireflies, terrestrial fireflies, and semi-aquatic fireflies. Firefly life, from eggs, larvae, pupae to adults, will mostly emit light, but the meanings represented by each stage are different.

The larva emits light for illumination, foraging, and warning; when the pupa is disturbed, it uses fluorescent light to intimidate and repel the enemy.

The twinkling light emitted by adults is the most romantic, it is the light of love that blooms for courtship. The colour, time, and rhythm of the fireflies light vary depending on the species. Only the fireflies of the same species can recognise the flashes emitted by the other party. For the same species, the flashes are a signal of courtship.

The light produced by fireflies is unique in that it is cold heat, which means 100% of the energy produced by the chemical reaction is emitted as light rather than heat. Whereas energy produced by the incandescent light bulbs in our homes is only 10% light, with 90% being heat.

While the full life cycle of a firefly from egg to adult is about a year, fireflies only live for two to three weeks as the adults (and they don’t eat during this time).

Fireflies are found all over the world, except Antarctica, and are facing threats including habitat loss and degradation, light pollution, pesticide use, poor water quality, invasive species, over-collection, and climate change.

Firefly tourism has also been identified as a potential threat to fireflies and their habitats when not managed appropriately.

Reducing pesticide use and/or proper, safe pesticide use is advisable and helpful to all insect species. We can also preserve waterways and aquatic habitats that lightning bugs favor.

Reducing outdoor lighting also helps them to show off their lights and find each other to mate and produce the next successful generation of our favorite summertime light show.