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Tue Jun 30, 2020, 11:51 PM

Lightning Bugs.... (Fire Flies, if you prefer).

My daughter bought 3 acres in rural, western N.J. The perimeter of her yard is filled with mature trees, maybe 75 - 90 ft. in height. We visited last evening, just enjoying the sunset. Rachel said we should stay and watch the Fire Flies. They will begin flashing in the un-mowed grass. Then they will rise higher and higher until the trees look as if they are filled with hundreds of fiber optic lights.

We stayed until 10:00, watching until the yellow lights reached the tops of the trees. Stayed, just enjoying being.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 11:54 PM

1. I'm a Southern boy, and we called them lightning bugs.

So you got it right the first time.

Whatever you call them, they are pretty, aren't they?

-- Ron

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:00 AM

2. A delight by any name.

One of my favorite summer night sights.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:01 AM

3. Why is it that even people who hate bugs love these pretty little things.

I love to watch them too but I doubt that I have ever seen them to the magnitude of what you witnessed. I'll bet it was quite a sight.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:03 AM

4. Like butterflies, don't see anywhere near the number of "lightening bug" when I was a kid.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #4)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:09 AM

7. Insect populations word wide are crashing.

One of the theories about the loss of fire flies is because of light pollution.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:06 AM

5. I wrote my first research paper in 9th grade on fireflies.

Did you know that they can synchronize their lights with each other? I never see them anymore (after moving from PA to CA).

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #5)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:38 AM

9. I don't see them in the west at all. The furthest west I've seen them is eastern Kansas.

Maybe in coastal Oregon or Washington? Don't know. I was always fascinated by them as a kid while visiting different places.

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Response to yonder (Reply #9)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 03:11 AM

11. From Smithsonian Magazine:

How come I see fireflies in New York, Illinois, Iowa and all through the South, but not in the West?

— Todd Schmidt | Chico, California

Well, you can see fireflies in the West, but you have to look a lot harder, says Marc Branham, a research associate at the National Museum of Natural History and an associate professor of entomology at the University of Florida. There’s kind of a firefly Continental Divide, and it has to do with flashing behavior among adults. Among Eastern species, males flash while they’re in flight to attract females; those species don’t live farther west than Kansas, except for a few isolated populations. Out West, it’s the adult females that glow, but only while they’re on the ground, and very faintly—so faintly their glow is hardly detectable even to a human eye fully adapted to the dark. And few people venture out without a flashlight or other light on.

--------------------

I really miss seeing the summer evening shows that I remember seeing when I was growing up in New York. I've told my wife about them, but we've never been in a place in the East during the season.

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Response to SeattleVet (Reply #11)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 03:15 PM

13. That answers that, thank you. Pretty interesting, actually,

and could be the beginning of a quest.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:07 AM

6. One of the best memories with my kids involved lightning bugs.

We had spent the summer afternoon swimming at the creek. The sun was going down and it was time to go home, but they were famished after playing in the water and wanted a snack before we left.

Across the creek hundreds of lightning bugs began flashing in the bushes and reflecting in the water. There was no moon that night and as darkness deepened the stars came out and they were also reflected in the water. It was like jewels shining on the dark surface of the stream. We sat and watched it for a long time before we packed up and headed home.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:22 AM

8. I miss those!

We had them in New England and in the Great Lakes region. I loved watching them as a kid. My parent would pitch a big tent for us to play in all summer and let us sleep out in it some nights. My siblings and I would catch some and let them loose in the tent so we could watch them as we went to sleep.

Later in life I enjoyed driving around the lakes at night in summer, out in the fields there were so many that they looked like streaks of light as I rolled down the highway.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 02:10 AM

10. They're making a comeback!

Twenty years ago, even thirty years ago, it was rare here to see more than a few a night in this part of the country. Now there are tens of thousands of them all night long!

Thirty years ago, in early May, a local FM radio station (104.1) ran a contest, with the goal to bring in 104 fireflies. But fireflies weren't really out yet here, so they were slow geting a winner. But they were out in force, in the south part of the state; and a friend and I were taking a trip down there. In a campground the night we were there, we caught 120 fireflies in a jar. We drove back home with them the next day, and the day after, we went to the radio station and cashed them in. We won the prize, $104.10! The DJ's were flabbergasted that we could find that many, until we told them we traveled to get them. Since it was his idea, I let him have most of the money, but I got $20 to buy a couple of albums (Asia and Styx Cornerstone), and he got stereo speaker system for his car. A nice memory!

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Original post)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 07:30 AM

12. I enjoyed the responses to this post. So did my daughter, and her rooster, Russel Crow.

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