The Firefly is Facing Extinction

THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's state insect is known for giving off bright flashes of light and creating some dazzling displays at night, but the light of the fireflies could soon be going out as the insect faces extinction.


While researchers have not yet completed empirical studies about the number of fireflies throughout the country, organizations like the Firefly Conservation and Research Group say the population of the insects throughout the country is plummeting.


Firefly Conservation and Research says the loss of natural habitat, pesticides and artificial lighting are all playing a role in the insect's fate.


Many fireflies rely on chemical reactions in their bodies to draw them to light and allow them to find mates but light pollution messes with that chemical cycle.


Scientists say their goal is to make land managers and policy makers aware of the threat to keep fireflies around longer.

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kadefol

That is sad. We used to have lots of fireflies but they've definitely dwindled over the past few years. We don't use pesticides and only motion detection lights but there are many in our neighborhood who keep outdoor lights on all night, every night.

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lurker111

No shortage around here. The bats seem to love them. It's kind of creepy to see bats flying around with glowing mouths.

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

I know a farmer in Minnesota who lives far from any city lights where there are still groves of trees on every homestead. He was looking forward to going camping and seeing fireflies :-O ! because they don't have them where he lives anymore.

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lurker111

Fireflies are seasonal. You have to be out at the right time to see them. We only see them for a couple of weeks out of the year.

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leona_2008

Catching fireflies in a glass jar and releasing them the next day is a childhood rite of passage. It would be such a shame if they became extinct. When trump is out of office, we have got to get back on track as good stewards of the environment. Not that our track record is anything to brag about but we were finally on the right path until trump decided to see how destructive he could be.

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Cookie8

Even though my area is low on butterflies and honey bees, I still see plenty of fireflies in my area. I love seeing them and hope it stays that way.

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elvis

Happily, we have lots of bugs here.

My favorite bug:


Sphinx (hummingbird) moth on my giant garden phlox (David) at dusk.

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Cookie8

That's neat looking. I also love David phlox.

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Embothrium(Sunset Climate Zone 5, USDA Hardiness Zone 8)

Bumble bees are dying out also.

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cecily 7A

Yes, I heard a story on NPR yesterday that bumblebee numbers are down 50%.

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nickel_kg(6)

Do you know the firefly life cycle? They have habitat needs that must be met year-round, or else the population will fail.

Last summer we had more fireflies than I've seen here, ever. Two factors helped. First, me and neighbors are leaving the back portion of our yards in a natural state: no raking, no weeding, no mowing, planted native plants for pollinators. Second, the prior summer was the rainiest in years -- I think the moisture all summer long enabled more firefly larvae to survive than usual.

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lurker111

I hate to admit it. When we were kids, we used to smash them up and use them for glowing ink.

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kadefol

Do you know the firefly life cycle? They have habitat needs that must be met year-round, or else the population will fail.

That could account for the decline of our population. We've been in a drought for several years now.

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

There are hundreds of species of fireflies in the US alone, and each firefly is synchronized to its local microenvironment. What one person sees in their backyard does not necessarily reflect what is going on across the US.

We are in a major extinction event; not just insects but across all species.


Many biologists support more intensive monitoring efforts, but point out
that in Europe there’s already enough knowledge about insect decline to
start addressing root causes — mainly in agricultural policy. According
to conservation organizations like BirdLife International, new attempts
are necessary to “green” EU agricultural policy in a substantial way by
creating incentives for enriching landscapes with hedgerows, reducing
fertilizer and pesticide use, and better rewarding organic agriculture.
Previous efforts to do so have largely failed.

“The key question
is whether governments view biodiversity as an add-on or as something
that is of existential importance for our future.”


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