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Lights Out for Fireflies?

Animals  (tags: animals, habitat, habitat destruction, endangered )

- 3580 days ago -
The fate of the insects drew more than 100 entomologists and biologists to Thailand's northern city of Chiang Mai last week for an international symposium on the "Diversity and Conservation of Fireflies."

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Nevaeh M (75)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 4:26 pm
Fireflies produce light via a chemical reaction consisting of Luciferin (a substrate) combined with Luciferase (an enzyme), ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and oxygen. When these components are added, light is produced. McElroy (1951) described the reaction as:
There are several theories on how fireflies control the "on" and "off" of their photic organs. However, the exact mechanism(s) has yet to be worked out. The "Oxygen Control Theory" is based on the firefly turning on and off its light by controlling the oxygen supply to the photic organ for use in the chemical reaction. The "Neural Activation Theory" hypothesizes that fireflies have neural control of structures called "tracheal end cells" which, upon stimulation, may release a messenger molecule in the photic organ which initiates the activation of the chemical reaction. Regardless of how fireflies control the "on" and "off" of their bioluminescence, the production of light in the above manner is very efficient, with very little heat being given off as wasted energy. Imagine what would happen if the beetle got as warm as a lightbulb.Go East, young firefly!
If you live in the United States, west of about the middle of Kansas, you are not apt to have the flashing type of fireflies in your area. Although some isolated sightings of luminous fireflies have been reported from time to time from regions of the western U.S., fireflies that glow are typically not found west of Kansas. The reason for this phenomenon is not known.

Many firefly species tend to be found around water such as ponds, streams, marshes or even depressions, ditches, etc., that may retain moisture longer then surrounding areas. However, fireflies are also found in very dry regions of the world as well.

Common Names:

Lightning Bug


when i was a child living in the country, lighting bugs were everywhere every night.i had a doll house in my back yard, a river across the road .now i don't see them no place. just last mouth it was very humid i seen a few & maid a comment where did they come from. because we have not seen any for years. i think they are beautiful to look at .& amazing !!! noted thanks .


Morgan Griffith (225)
Wednesday September 3, 2008, 7:13 am
I used to see fireflies when I was a child back east. It is one of the things I miss living in California.

Wednesday September 3, 2008, 10:45 pm

Past Member (0)
Thursday September 4, 2008, 6:18 am
I am one of the lucky ones who live on the East Coast of the US and have a garden that houses fireflies, so me and my family get to see then every night in June and August.

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