Monday, January 24, 2011

fireflies aren't flies

They're actually a small beetle. The male fireflies' habit of producing a pulse of light from their abdomen when flying at night makes them particularly noticeable. They have been of interest to humans since ancient times. The first written records of fireflies are from China 2,500 years ago.

The males use the flash pattern to attract the attention of the females on the ground. Females have a weaker flash pattern. Fireflies are best seen from half to one hour after sunset in summer on a humid, still, rainless and moonless night. The duration of the flashing display of mass emergence lasts for around 30-45 minutes. There are exceptions and some males persist for longer periods and it's usually these males that are more successful in finding a female.

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