Tag: Bioluminescence

Pique the Geek 20120610: More on Fireflies

Last time we had a rather technical discussion about the biology and chemical mechanics of fireflies.  I appreciate all of the comments, and some of them indicated that I should expound a bit.

Most of the comments were concerned with firefly ecology and how to encourage their numbers.  It is true that fireflies seem to be on the decrease insofar as populations go, and there are several reasons for that.

One reason that I am pretty much sure DOES NOT deplete the population is live capture, with or without release.  I have a call in to Sigma-Aldrich to see if they still buy fireflies.  If so, they are supplying lots of material for research whilst doing little harm to the population.

It is HARD to catch enough fireflies to damage the population!  As I get more information about the bounty, if any, on members of the Photinus genus, I shall share.

Pique the Geek 20120603: Fireflies

‘Tis the time of the season here in the Bluegrass for fireflies (or, as we used to call them at home in Arkansas, lightening bugs).  Fireflies are an amazingly large group of insects, and are found on all continents except Antarctica.

The experts still can not agree how to categorize them systematically, so we will just touch on their classification.  It is important, however, to place them within the insects at least to a zero order approximation.

I got to thinking about them the other night when my dear friend and her little girl were in their yard next door trying to catch the few that were already flying.  Next week it is supposed to be warmer, so the three of us may be able to spend some quality time together catching them, and letting them go, of course, after The Little Girl goes to bed.