As the daylight stretches out its long rays of light extending late into the evening, we are aware of the arrival of summer. With summer upon us we start noticing the different types of bugs and insects that only warmer weather can provide us with. The sunlight slowly recedes each day and as we sit outside enjoying the cooling sensation that nightfall brings, those of us lucky enough to live in warm, humid weather get to experience one of nature’s light shows.
It usually starts around dusk, when the sun is just below the horizon, yet a warm glow still remains. A small flash of green light stands out against the dimming light. The fireflies are gathering. Never a steady glow, these lightening bugs flash in patterns with the hopes of attracting a mate. Adult firelies are driven to finding their perfect match. So much so that many of them will forgo eating entirely, in order to spend more time flashing and searching.
Not all fireflies have the ability to synchronize their flashes. There are nearly 2,000 different firefly species and only one percent can synchronize their flashing to a group pattern. The groups that do this are primarily male. They have figured out that females are more attracted to a large grouping than a single flash in the night. When a female does spot these groups, she will hide out nearby until she sees a pattern of flashing that she is drawn to. Then she engages. If she’s surrounded by more than one male, they all communicate amongst themselves until she chooses only one.
These seemingly random green blobs of light are absolutely fascinating to watch. They appear to be invisible in the night sky, until all of a sudden a flash of green streaks by right in front of you. Most people are unaware of what they actually look like in the light. I assure you, there is more to them than a green glow. They are actually a member of the beetle family. With black shell-like wings outlined in yellow, and a reddish yellow antennaed head that has a black dot; these bugs are beautiful even in the daytime. But nothing compares to the illuminating show that they perform when the sun goes down.