One of my favorite signs of summer in the eastern United States is the twilight flickering of the common eastern firefly (photinus pyralis). Have you seen a firefly this summer?
Fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, are actually beetles. They flash each other as a way to find mates. Their bioluminescence is incredibly energy-efficient; almost 100 percent of their chemical reaction results in light. In contrast, our most energy efficient light bulbs lose 90% to heat. Here is a treasure-trove of fascinating facts about fireflies.
If you are in NYC this Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 7:00pm, the Brooklyn Bird Club hosts a lecture on fireflies by biologist Sara Lewis. She’ll present her research from her new book Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies. She will lead an evening walk in search of fireflies after the talk.
You can also watch Sara Lewis’s charming TED talk on the loves and lives of fireflies.
My favorite place in New York City to see fireflies is the Long Meadow in Prospect Park. I usually see them at the end of June. What about you?