In some places outside the city, you can watch a host of fireflies as soon as it gets dark. It's so nice to watch them fly and glow. Here are some facts about these fascinating insects:
It turns out that not only adult fireflies can glow. In some species, even eggs glow, while some do it by themselves, while others need to be tapped lightly to make them glow. Some species and larvae emit light.
In a firefly, light is entirely insect energy. For comparison, when a light bulb burns, light accounts for only 90%, because 10% is spent on generating heat. But when a fluorescent lamp burns, light accounts for only 70%, and heat release - 30%. In a firefly, 100% of its energy goes to light.
Different types of fireflies glow in their own way. In this case, some glow constantly, while others emit flicker. Females glow in the foliage of trees and bushes, waiting for males. Males, as they approach them, also begin to emit light signals. Light helps fireflies to avoid predators - since they produce bitter chemicals in the dark when enemies appear, they already know that it is not worth catching a burning firefly, because they will not like it anymore.
Fireflies can be easily identified by a certain rhythm of the glow. One view creates a J-shaped flash, and its flight path resembles an arc. Another flies in a straight line and flashes every three to eight seconds. The third flashes twice every five seconds, the fourth flashes three times in two to three seconds, and so on. By the glow, scientists can immediately recognize what kind of fireflies is in front of them.
Some fireflies are deceivers. While the adults of most species feed on pollen or smaller insects, females of the Photuris species prey on and consume males of other species. At the same time, they emit light that imitates the glow of females of the species that they hunt.
Many people think that the light coming from fireflies can only be green or greenish yellow. However, this is not always the case. There are fireflies that give off orange or blue light. Some of those who emit a blue glow do not flicker, but are constantly on throughout the night. There are also types of these insects that do not glow at all.
There are fireflies that synchronize flashes of light with each other, creating unimaginable light shows.
Fireflies glow because their bodies contain chemicals and enzymes such as calcium, adenosine triphosphate, luciferin and luciferase, resulting in a bioluminescent chemical reaction. These insects can control the light by adding oxygen early in the process in order to trigger a chemical reaction in the light-producing organ.
Fireflies can save a person's life. Scientists have found that the luciferin in their bodies can be used to detect blood clots in the body, which is important when using cancer drugs. However, more recently, scientists have learned to create synthetic luciferase, which means that the medical industry no longer needs to obtain this bioluminescent chemical from fireflies.
Fireflies live very little - only one summer. They spend most of their lives looking for a partner. As soon as this happens, the females lay their eggs and die. The larvae appear next spring and the life cycle repeats.