The cool twilight of summer punctuated with twinkling fireflies can create a magical vibe that can take off all your stress even before you realize. That’s the beauty of our mystic Mother Nature. Fireflies are one of the most fascinating creation of nature that look no less that miniscule stars paying us a visit from the sky. But what makes them so incredibly attractive? How do they glow? Let us find out 25 interesting fireflies facts and learn a bit more about these tiny glowing bugs.
Interesting Fireflies Facts: 1-10
1. First thing first. Fireflies are not flies. They are beetles. How about the name Firebeetles? It is okay but just doesn’t sound nice. However, they do have a different name – lightning bugs.
2. There are different types of beetles. Some of them are winged beetles. Scientifically, winged beetles are from the order Coleoptera. So, fireflies are also of the order Coleoptera. However, not all winged beetles are nocturnal.
3. So, fireflies actually separate out as a different family within the order Coleoptera. The family to which the fireflies belong is known as Lampyridae. All insect within the Lampyridae family are nocturnal.
4. Now here is one interesting thing. Insects in Lampyridae family can glow (i.e. exhibit bioluminescence) but not all of them can fly. Those that fly are called fireflies. Those that don’t fly are called glowworms.
5. There are nearly 2,000 different species of fireflies present on Earth. They all are world’s most efficient light producers. How? 100% of the energy they produce by chemical reaction designed for producing light (this chemical reaction is known as bioluminescence) is used up for light production. Compare this with incandescent bulbs produced by humans. Only 10% of the energy is converted to light while the remaining 90% is lost in form of heat.
6. Here is yet another interesting thing. Not all fireflies glow. Of the 2000 different species that live on this planet, there are a few species that do not glow at all.
7. The big question is, ‘how do they glow?’ Well, the answer to this question lies inside their bodies. They have specialized organs for carrying out the light-producing chemical reaction, i.e. bioluminescence.
8. These special light organs are present right under the abdomen of the fireflies. Inside these special organs is a compound known as luciferin. There is also an enzyme known as luciferase. Inside these special organs, luciferase reacts with luciferin in presence of oxygen, adenosine triphosphate and magnesium ions to produce light.
9. Interestingly, the light produced by fireflies is cold light. This means that no energy is lost in form of heat and the entire energy is used up in the production of light.
10. The light produced by fireflies can vary in color. While yellow is the most common color of light produced by these flying beetles, there are other light variants as well such as, pale red, orange and even green.