Jun 30, 2022

7 Facts About Fireflies You Might Not Know About

It’s summertime again, and that means backyard barbecues, and lots and lots of fireflies lighting up the night skies around us.

But what are those little guys, exactly…?

Today we’ll get our firefly questions answered with these 5 facts!

1. Say what?

Believe it or not, fireflies are not actually flies…they’re beetles!

They have hardened forewings like all beetles and they use them to balance themselves when they are flying.

2. Light ’em up!

Fireflies are bioluminescent. The part of fireflies that lights up is called the photic organ.

This happens when oxygen is mixed with luciferin (a pigment), luciferase (an enzyme), and adenosine triphosphate (a chemical that provides cells with energy).

Uric acid crystals are located in the cells that make the light and they shine the light away from the body.

Science is wild!

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Photo Credit: Unsplash,Jerry Zhang

3. The flash.

This is pretty amazing…

Each firefly species has its own flash pattern…and there are roughly 2,000 different species.

Some species flash only once, some give off bursts of light, some shake from side to side so it appears as if they are twinkling, and on and on.

Who knew?!?!

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Photo Credit: BeFunky

4. Hard to find out west.

Although there are a few exceptions, flashing fireflies can’t be found west of the Rocky Mountains.

Fireflies that don’t communicate via their flickers use pheromones instead.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

5. They can be dangerous.

When attacked, fireflies start a process called reflex bleeding where they shed blood that is poisonous to their predators, including birds and lizards.

They probably wouldn’t make a person d**, but you still shouldn’t eat them, okay?

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