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June 29, 2009


I like fireflies a lot. They don’t occur in Ireland and I first encountered them during a fortnight spent in Tuscany at a NATO Advanced Study Institute in 1993. I now associate them with summer evenings spent on the porch in Michigan with my in-laws., watching the kids try and catch the little blighters. This is by way of pointing out that Carl Zimmer’s piece in tomorrow’s New York Times is on fireflies and that he has also blogged on them. The latter includes this wonderful quote: “You can even play the male or the female, depending on your mood.” Indeed.

(image source)

  1. Cera Lawrence
    June 29, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    I was just home in Alabama a couple weeks ago. I’d been told that the fireflies were “disappearing” from around my neck of the woods, but they were thick and plentiful. I spent about twenty minutes catching and releasing a few of them. I heartily regret the fact that, when me and my sisters were very young, we would squish their abdomens to make glow-in-the-dark “makeup” out of their insecty-insides. Thanks for the link.

  2. June 29, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I would have never have thought about glow-in-the-dark “makeup”. I don’t know whether to think it’s cool or not!

  3. June 30, 2009 at 10:01 am

    A sincere thanks for the reminder that there are some cool things about Michigan. Fireflies have always thrilled me, since I was 12 and first experienced them while visiting the Midwest. Actually, this time of year is when it’s wonderful to live in Michigan, when I can think, “Wow, poor sad John Lynch living in hell– er, Phoenix.” In March, you can return the favor.

  4. June 30, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I don’t need your pity Matheson! I’ve plenty of my own self-pity 🙂

  5. June 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    There are fewer here – my hometown in East Tennessee – than there were when I was a kid, half a century ago. They used to pay us ($1 per 100, if I remember correctly) to catch them – it was for the lab. Back then that was easy…

  6. DLC
    June 30, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I grew up in the midwest before moving to Err um… it’s not hell but you can see it from here in Arizona. Fireflies were one of the coolest things of summer.
    I even remember Heinlein using them in his short story on “cold light”, Let there Be Light. Nature finds some highly interesting ways of doing things.

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