Fireflies are often seen lighting up the night sky on warm evenings. They are particularly abundant during the summer months. One reason that fireflies glow is to attract mates. Males will flash, and females will respond to mates they find interesting. Fireflies also may glow to avoid predators. The luciferase enzyme in firefly cells causes a chemical reaction that stimulates light, a phenomenon called bioluminescence. Fireflies are filled with lucibufagins, a poor-tasting chemical that turns off predators from attacking the blinking bug. Some fireflies cannot light up at all and use pheromones to attract mates. Fireflies can be fun to catch and release and also beneficial to have around. In the larval stage, fireflies will eat destructive insects. Adult fireflies may feed on nectar and could help to pollinate plants. Despite their name, fireflies aren’t really flies. They actually are a type of beetle. Fireflies are difficult to spot during the day because they’re often resting on leaves or plants. It’s only at night when their brilliant light show comes alive.

© 2015 by Metro Creative Graphics, Inc.