Who doesn’t love fireflies? I consider them to be one of the staples of a relaxing summer evening. It just wouldn’t be summer without those mystical little yellow glowing orbs that trail the skies. They are also one of those rare insects that people don’t seem react to the same way as other insects. People seem to enjoy catching them or being landed on by them.
Lightning bugs are winged beetles and are known for their ability to glow (bioluminescence) due to a chemical reaction in their abdomens. The purpose of this glow is to attract mates or prey.
Here’s a cool fact. The chemical reaction used to generate the light is super efficient. About 90% of the energy put out by the insect actually becomes light. Compare this to an LED (light emitting diode)with a luminous efficacy of 150 lm/W which can only convert about 20% to visible light. Maybe I was headlining the whole “green” trend when I thought I could make a lamp by putting them in a jar when I was a child.