I was in my backyard thinking, when the lightning bugs (a.k.a Firefly's) came out, now me, I love
Firefly's, they are the most nifty bugs ever! But it made me think of a few questions that have gone unanswered for most of
my life. Why do firefly's flash, and how? What do they eat? Questions I finally have the answer to.
What do Fireflies eat?
Boringly, they eat plant nectar. But, it actually gets exciting with the female ones eat, since there
are many species of Fireflies there are unique flashing patterns to distinguish them. Smart females have learned to copy the
signals for other species of Fireflies, they use them to lure over males from other species, and get this, they eat them!
Now that is something I would like to see on Discovery or Animal planet. At least I can imagine a big ol' lion taking down
the antelope, but how the hell does a female firefly kill and eat a male firefly?
Why do fireflies flash?
This turned out to be exactly what I thought it would be, firefly's flash in order to mate. The males
flash and the females who usually rest of foliage will flash back if they like what they see, then there is literally a conversation
of sorts between the two with a series of flashes, which is kinda odd, but ok. Then, if the female likes what she see's, they
mate! Now, why have I never seen mating fireflies, now I am determined to find this anomaly in nature. I've actually seen
lady bugs mate before, that was an interesting experience.
How do fireflies flash?
It's actually quite simple, it's a chemical reaction. Luciferin ( a substrate), Luciferase (an enzyme),
ATP (adenisine tri phosphate), and oxygen form this reaction.
Yep, that is a picture of two fireflies mating.....