Monday, July 11, 2011

Firefly Signals, II

I'm still having fun trying to capture firefly signals with my camera.
Firefly Signals
   In the photo above there are at least two different kinds (flash patterns) of firefly signals.  One species of firefly is signaling by the bushes with blinking lights, almost like Christmas tree lights.  In the foreground of the picture, the other species of firefly made three linear signals while it flew along.
   Here above a cornfield a different species of firefly is signaling "J" shaped signals.

Photinus pyralis over a cornfield
   This species of firefly, Photinus pyralis, makes those "J" signals by swooping down a bit, then flying straight up while signaling. 
"J" shaped firefly signal
  The male Photinus pyralis make those "J" signals while flying about, and the females wait in the vegetation like the one pictured below.
Female Photinus pyralis waiting on goldenrod
   When a male Photinus pyralis signals, the female waits about two seconds and then flashes her own signal, a stationary short flash.
 The fireflies continue their light show courtship as the male approaches. In this photo
 you can see the female waiting on the goldenrod (upper left) while the male signals in the lower right of the picture.  I missed capturing the "swooping down" or "hook" part of his signal...maybe that will happen another night when there are less mosquitoes bothering me.
   This lightning bug light show is very effective at getting the lightning bugs together because, I must confess,  I chased away about a dozen males when they got too close to the female.  I wanted the light show to continue so I could photograph the event.  She had more patience than I did, because I left her there on the goldenrod and fled the mosquito horde.
  Capturing such a fascinating phenomenon as a bioluminescent lightning bug light show with my camera is as fun as it used to be for me to capture the lightning bugs in a jar.
  Fireflies forever!


  1. Oh wow Dana these are marvellous ! you need a mosquito jacket so you can linger longer and take more pics for me. :-)

    On CBC Radio 1, a man was interviewed the other day who has photos made by fireflies. I'm sure how else to express it. I think he captures fireflies and then in total darkness has them walk or land on a sheet of unexposed film. The pictures he creates are huge: 4' X 8' ...

    CBC = Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    you can listen on line if you want to get a sense.

  2. Pretty cool!! Never thougoht to try to photograph fireflies! You did a great job! Kids and nature, that's kind of my thing. Stop by my blog this week for a great give-away! It'd be a wonderful addition to your library! ~karen