Hehe....used the lightbulb smilie for this thread.Thought it would be appropriate.
I love this time of year when the adult fireflies, or lightning bugs as us Baltimoreans called them, emerge and do their light show from early evening on into the night. Sometimes I'll get up during the night and peer out the window for awhile looking for them. I still like to catch them when they first come out at dusk just like I did as a child, though I only hold them for a short while and let them go again. Don't want to interrupt their mate-hunting for too long.
When I was a kid, I thought there was only one kind of firefly. We lived near a large city park and sometimes I'd catch these smaller fireflies that stayed deeper in the woods. I thought they were *baby* fireflies that would grow to get the size of the ones I normally caught. However, a few years ago I read an article about them which showed there were several varieties of these interesting insects. I also learned they spend like 3 or 4 years in the larvae stage before finally pupating and reaching an adult. As docile as the adults are, flying around lighting their lights and minding their own business, it's hard to believe they are so ferocious as a larvae. In that stage they already have light emitting organs, but they use the light to attract other small insects which they then attack and devour. As adults, they don't eat at all. The brief few weeks you see them is their entire adult life span, which is spent entirely searching for a mate.
Fascinating, too, is the fact that the light emitted by fireflies differs in color, intensity, and timing from one variety to another. And each firefly only responds to the light from a mate of the same type as they are. Now I try to take note of how many different varieties of fireflies I can pick out. I see the little ones which I used to think were babies. They fly quickly with their light blinking at regular intervals like a tiny strobe light. Then there's another type that has a yellowish-green light which is kept lit for a longer duration - looks like a yellow/green streak of light going through our front yard. Of course, there's always the early evening ones I'm used to catching which fly fairly low and dip themselves down towards the grass when lighting their light. Guess I love these little insects because seeing them each year takes me back to fun, early Summer evenings playing as a child.