Do fireflies bite you?
Lightning Bugs overwinter as larvae buried in the soil and emerge in the spring to feed. Whether you know them as Lightning Bugs or Fireflies, these are beneficial insects. They don't bite, they have no pincers, they don't attack, they don't carry disease, they are not poisonous, they don't even fly very fast.
The compound is called luciferin. As air rushes into a firefly's abdomen, it reacts with the luciferin, and a chemical reaction gives off the firefly's familiar glow. This light is sometimes called “cold light” because it generates so little heat. They eat so many fireflies that they themselves begin to glow.
- Light production in fireflies is due to a type of chemical reaction called bioluminescence. This process occurs in specialized light-emitting organs, usually on a firefly's lower abdomen. The enzyme luciferase acts on the luciferin, in the presence of magnesium ions, ATP, and oxygen to produce light.
- Fireflies contain toxins that can be poisonous to lizards, amphibians, and potentially other animals, including birds. The toxins, called "lucibufagins," are chemically related to cardiotoxins found in toads and plants. Just one firefly, contains enough poison to kill a lizard.
- In a commentary for CNN earlier this week, Lewis wrote that many of the Earth's firefly species, of which there are more than 2,000, are "endangered by human activities such as habitat loss, light pollution and pesticides."
Unlike people, fireflies love warm, humid weather. It helps them to survive. So in years when summer-like weather arrives before June does, fireflies tend to appear in lawns, gardens, and trees earlier than usual — sometimes as early as late spring.
- During the day, these nocturnal fireflies go into hiding. They are either seen on vegetation, on banks of small streams or ponds or even on trees. Generally, vegetation that provide a shadier area is chosen, like tall grass.
- meet water — there are some fireflies on the West Coast; most of them just don't glow. A couple species in Oregon, Zarhipis integripennis and Pterotus obscuripennis, do emit light, but it's rare to see them. Overall, the population of fireflies in the United States and throughout the world is dwindling.
- Predators that possibly specialize on fireflies are certain birds (Caprimulgidae, Nyctibiidae), spiders (Lycosidae, Araneidae), certain anoles (Iquanidae) and frogs. Female Photuris spp. fireflies are specialized predators of luminescent male fireflies (Photuris, Photinus, Pyractomena).
Some species of firefly glow instead of flash while there are other species that come out during the day, in which they do not use flashes or glow to attract mates. They use pheromones instead. The female will lay her eggs in moist soil, a dead log, or moss.
- Fireflies are filled with a nasty-tasting chemical called lucibufagens, and after a predator gets a mouthful, it quickly learns to associate the firefly's glow with this bad taste! So not only does the flashing help attract a mate, it also warns predators to stay away.
- The compound is called luciferin. As air rushes into a firefly's abdomen, it reacts with the luciferin, and a chemical reaction gives off the firefly's familiar glow. This light is sometimes called “cold light” because it generates so little heat. They eat so many fireflies that they themselves begin to glow.
- Fireflies produce a chemical reaction inside their bodies that allows them to light up. This type of light production is called bioluminescence. When oxygen combines with calcium, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and the chemical luciferin in the presence of luciferase, a bioluminescent enzyme, light is produced.
Updated: 21st October 2019