Rabindranath Tagore once wrote: My fancies are fireflies, —Specks of living light twinkling in the dark .
I leave no trace of wings in the air, but I am glad I have had my flight.
The fireflies, twinkling among leaves, make the stars wonder.
Joy freed from the bond of earth’s slumber, rushes into numberless leaves,
and dances in the air for a day.
Fireflies tend to be brown and soft-bodied, often with front wings, more leathery than those of other beetles. Although the females of some species are similar in appearance to males, larviform females are found in many other firefly species. These females can often be distinguished from the larvae only because they have compound eyes, although the latter are much smaller than those of their males and often highly regressed. The most commonly known fireflies are nocturnal, although numerous species are active during the day. Most diurnal species are not luminescent; however, some species that remain in shadowy areas may produce light.
A few days after mating, a female lays her fertilized eggs on or just below the surface of the ground. The eggs hatch three to four weeks later, and the larvae feed until the end of the summer. The larvae are commonly called glowworms (not to be confused with the distinct beetle family.
Light in adult beetles was originally thought to be used for similar warning purposes, but now its primary purpose is thought to be used in mate selection. Fireflies are a classic example of an organism that uses bio luminescence for sexual selection. They have a variety of ways to communicate with mates in courtships: steady glows, flashing, and the use of chemical signals unrelated to photic systems. The signal provides potential mates with information about the species of the signaller or its quality as a mate.
- There are more than 2000 species and each has a unique flashing pattern
- They are alive for only 2 months of the year in India… May and June. they hatch from their eggs, become the cool flickering bulbs, attract a mate, lay eggs and then die. the eggs then hatch the next may! nature knows when the little larvae need to step out and see the daylight… how cool is that?
- Yes it’s a mating thing. yeah, it is… just like the peacocks showing off their beautiful plume. one likes to think it’s for the rains, the male fireflies blink their bums silly to attract the female firefly. guess the male with the bigger light is the winner here!
- What do you think they are? flies? bugs? roaches? they are beetles! i think in my head it adds another dimension to them…
- The males can fly higher than the females. the females stay perched on leaves and rocks. if a male passes by and they like the flashing, then they flash back. the male stops, their antennae touch (thats how they smell each other), they mate and the female lays the eggs. simple right?
- Best time for fireflies is the first two weeks of June. even that depends on the amount of rain. they need a couple of showers to start flitting around and flirting with all the females. If it starts raining very heavily, they can’t take the weight of the drops and you might find them by the roadside, dying… that’s the end of the season.
- If you flash a torch on a tree full of fireflies, they go mad. they must think a big firefly has arrived to steal their ladies…
- The light is not warm. and is emitted by a complex process called bio luminescence…
- You can let them walk on your hand, it doesn’t hurt, pain, tingle. you might just feel a little squeamish given that they look very similar to roaches from a non-scientific eye.
- Lastly, you have to walk in the dark, through village roads and fields just after a shower, so expect mud, footwear getting stuck in the mud! take good, sturdy footwear.
Fireflies teach us somethimg about Life. The way they ignite the dark forest, we can Ignite our souls in the same way when we flounder in the Dark and are searching for a Path.
Shishir V Mandya