Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Lightning Bug by Any Other Name

Last night, I was outside on my back porch and I saw a lightning bug glow for a moment in the branches of our maple tree. A few seconds later I saw it glow again several feet to the right. I looked lower at the grass and did not see a female response. Sorry, Charlie.

The scientific term for them is lampyridae. I never knew this and only just now found out. I grew up calling them lightning bugs or fireflies. We loved seeing them on a hot summer's night and tried to catch as many as we could and stick them in jars and see them glow for a while and then we would release them. They would slowly walk up to the highest point, stick out their wings, pause for a moment, and then fly up and away.

My sister D. lived in Seattle for a while and told me once how she was talking with someone and she brought up fireflies and they had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Isn't that amazing? They don't have fireflies or lightning bugs in Seattle. It wouldn't feel like Summer without them.

I wonder what they have there that I have no idea of--I bet tons.

New poll up to the left: what do you call lampyridae?

Have you seen one yet?


Christina said...

I've only seen them once, when we were at Lake Michigan one summer. They don't occur west of central Kansas or thereabouts.

Laura said...

That is scandalous! Simply an outrage. It is NOT Summer without fireflies/lightning bugs/glowworms. Who can I call?!

Did you like them? Aren't they beautiful and wondrous?

Christina said...

They were amazing -- magical. My daughter, who was almost 3yo at the time, still remembers them.

DoulaMomma said...

I believe I grew up calling them lightning bugs but I use fireflies too

my friend who now lives in Savannah, GA said they don't have them b/c they spray for mosquitoes and it kills the fireflies too - sad :-(

search fireflies on my blog - several posts!

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