About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Flashdance: The Fireflies Mating Ritual

In the animal kingdom, fireflies are somewhat unusual because they use their light-producing capability to find a mate in the dark. Also known as lightning bugs, fireflies are are actually beetles which hatch from eggs in the fall and spend the winter and early spring as larvae burrowed in the soil only to emerge as adults in late spring. The adult males usually flash while patrolling an area, while the females flash a response from a stationary perch.

You might see more than one type of firefly in your yard. There are several species of fireflies in Michigan. Photinus is the most common firefly in our area with about 15 species. Each is about one half inch in length, and it produces a yellow-green flash. In the dark, you may be able to tell them apart by the color of their flash or distinctive flash patterns.

Click HERE to see the Museum of Science’s virtual habitat.

Spotting fireflies is a special preshow to the fireworks on the Fourth of July in mid-Michigan, but lately the numbers seem to be declining. The Museum of Science is asking for help from volunteers to track these amazing insects. If you would like to collect data for further research Click HERE. No special scientific training is required.

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