Fireflies, sometimes known as lightning bugs, are actually neither flies nor bugs, but a type of beetle that uses flashing lights as a means of attracting mates. Both sexes flash signals, although the females of most species are wingless and signal from the ground.
Can you notice the variations of color, ranging from yellows to greens? You can even detect differences in the timing of the signals. Different species hope, no doubt, to attract only their own kind with their particular flashing.
Who can resist trying to catch fireflies? You can use a net, gently sweeping the air, or position yourself with an open jar, ready to clamp down the lid when you’ve captured one of these elusive insects. Fireflies prefer tall grass to mowed lawns, so keep this in mind.
The beetles usually start signaling at dusk and continue until midnight, and can be witnessed from mid-summer until early autumn.
You may be astonished by how very ordinary these insects look in the light. They are smaller than their bright light suggests and are a dull brown color.
As you might have guessed, glow-worms are the larvae of fireflies.
[Image: Courtesy of Flickr user Geo Mc – *photographing the seasons*]