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Wild Profile: Meet the firefly

Reference: Cottage Life

When not in a glowing cloud of its cousins, a firefly looks like pretty much any other bug. That’s because the insects are, in fact, ordinary old beetles. Well, may not so ordinary: fireflies have “light organs.” They can self-illuminate, producing bursts of bioluminescence (light), thanks to two chemicals—luciferin and luciferase—that interact with oxygen inside their bodies.

Fireflies use their flickering lights like Morse Code, to communicate with potential mates. Males usually flicker while in flight; females stay low to the ground, waiting for signals, and responding to them. Fireflies produce yellow, green, or orange light, in a variety of different flicker patterns. It depends on the species. One type of firefly might produce a quick flash of green, followed by a long glow; another might flash orange every three seconds... Read More