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Firefly Fun Facts

The firefly is a fascinating creature who frolics to find a mate under the moonlight. As a child, I was mesmerized by their blinking lights under the blanket of stars in the sky. I would skip around my backyard with my cousins, trying to catch them in my mother's mason jars.

Synchronous firefly events can be experienced in late May or early June. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest and most well-known firefly event and is magnificent to watch. Thousands of fireflies dance throughout the night, twinkling like crazy and then blinking off their lights in unison. After crawling along the forest floor for nearly a year as larvae, they have twenty-one days to find their mates.

Most people know that fireflies use their lights to attract mates, but what you may not know is that they also use them to communicate. Fireflies will sometimes flash signals to defend territory or alert friends to predators in the area.

Fireflies will often imitate other species to win their mates. Occasionally male fireflies will poorly mimic female fireflies, scaring other males away to ensure they are the victors of the females they are trying to attract.

Electronic sensors built with chemicals from the fireflies' light are used on spacecraft to detect life in outer space. The same chemical can also be used to detect food spoilage.

Perhaps my favorite fact is that the light from a firefly is considered cold light and is the most efficient in the world, meaning that one hundred percent of its energy is emitted as light. The light produces no heat, which is why scientists refer to the light as "cold light." An incandescent light bulb, by comparison, uses ten percent of its energy to emit light and the other ninety percent is heat.

Your light is powerful, too, so LET IT SHINE!

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