If there ever was a magical performance to see, it is a pair of lightning bugs. Never heard of lightning bugs, how about fireflies? These magical bugs are one in the same and many of us have been delighted as children by their magical performances. How many of you spent warm summer night chasing lightning bugs all over the yard having the time of your life as a child?
As children, we were just tickled pink and amazed at these glowing insects, which we tried so hard to catch. The funniest thing about lightning bugs and their magic performance is that we never knew they were performing a courtship for mating. Yes, the luminescent lights they send back and forth to one another are offers of courtship! They even respond back with a blinking light indicating whether they want to mate or not.
The courting magic act starts with male lightning bugs that are flying in the air and flash a female lightning bug that is resting in vegetation or possibly on the ground. When the female is interested in the flashing male, she responds with a flash of her own after the last flash of his magic performance. The two lightning bugs proceed to have a chat of sorts and if there is a mutual agreement, off they go to mate. Cute and to the point.
Another fascinating fact about lightning bugs is that each species have their own flashing patterns. This helps to differentiate between more than 2000 lightning bug species. Different species of fireflies can recognize a different flash pattern and know when it is not the right species for mating. Lightning bugs can create multi-pulsed flashes, a single flash or a continuous glow to send their messages.
There are even some lightning bugs that are called fireflies or lightning bugs, but they don’t flash. In some species, only the males will perform firefly magic. Technically, lightning bugs or fireflies are not really flies. How confusing. These insects are actually members of the beetle family called Lampyridae.
Lightning bugs will be found in warm climates especially in wooded forests or marshes. The larvae stay predominately under bark or logs in and around mud until they reach maturity. During the larvae stage, lightning bugs feed on snails, earthworms and slugs. Adult lightning bugs feed on nectar and pollen from many types of flowers, which benefits plant growth.
Adults and children from around the world still enjoy the magical performance of lightning bugs.