• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... fireflies.


CURWOOD: Chasing fireflies is a classic childhood summer experience. Also known as lightning bugs, there are 2,000 species of fireflies inhabiting every continent except Antarctica. Each species is characterized by the rhythm of its flashes. Some tropical species congregate in groups and flash in unison. Controlled by the nervous system, firefly light is caused by the instantaneous oxidation of a substance located on the underside of the insect's abdomen. Firefly light is described as cold light because it contains very few infrared and ultraviolet rays. All firefly larvae, and in many cases their eggs, give off light. The term glow worms refers to the larvae and flightless females of some species. During the summer the adults spend the day resting on vegetation, but from dusk until about midnight they fly around flashing. The males do it to attract mates. The flashing may also be a protective mechanism to remind predators of their bitter taste. Still, some frogs eat such a large number of fireflies that they themselves glow. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Telephone: 617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth