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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First lightning bugs of the year!

On my drive home last night, I saw my first lightning bug (or firefly) of the year.  Tonight as I walked back from dinner, there were even more active. Fire"fly" or lightning "bug" are both misnomers, as the insects in question are actually beetles in the family Lampryidae.

Fireflies are one of the (many) reasons I am glad to be back east of the Mississippi.  They do not occur in California, where I did graduate work, and summer just isn't summer without them!

Fireflies can also be important predators, as they feed on soft bodied larvae and adults of other insects.  In fact, I have seen fireflies rooting around in blackberry blossoms, presumably in search of larval thrips to eat.  I suspect the plant actually receives some pollination benefit along the way.

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