Firefly Watch

Firefly Watch Graphic
$15.00

$10 for Members

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In daylight, fireflies (aka lightning bugs) are all similar in appearance, but at night they show off with their wonderful bioluminescence in a variety of patterns and even different colors. We stand in awe or chase after them to admire their display, but for these insects, which are neither flies nor insects but rather beetles, their light shows at a matter of life and death.

Researchers are still studying their genetics, how they make their light, and their subtle flash variations to better understand their behavior and ecology, but we do know much more than we did 25 years ago! Eastern North America has one of the world’s greatest diversity of firefly species, and the Pennsylvania firefly (Photuris pennsylvanicus) is actually out official state insect.

Please come join us with Naturalist Mike Slater to walk the meadows around the Acopian Center to learn about the ecology of this wonderful group of beetles. We'll observe their amazing light show and interpret a bit of this sky dance based on recent research. We won’t see the Pennsylvania Firefly as they are now known to only live in the freshwater tidal marshes of the Delaware River estuary, but we expect to see a variety—maybe a half-dozen or more—of species flying and flashing away over the meadows along the Little Schuylkill River.

Please bring a small flashlight to use for walking back to your car after dark. You might want to bring insect repellant along, but only apply it if mosquitoes become problematic as we don’t want to hurt any fireflies we might handle.