Firefly field

July 01, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

In a perfect world, I would be standing in this local field at twilight with biologists who were skilled in the amazing art of identifying fireflies from the flash patterns they make in the darkness—dots and dashes and continual glows of light the insects manufacture in chemical factories located at the end of their abdomens. The bioluminescent messages are typically specific to each species, and they carry love notes. The male flashes his identity, and the female, somehow gauging his worthiness as mate material from his light signal, answers back either yea or nay. There's clearly a lot of love talk in the warm, mosquito-filled air, but as I watched and took a series of five-second long time exposures of all the action, I wished that I had an expert close at hand to help me read what was being proposed... and by whom.


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