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Fireflies (lightening bugs) - Essay Example

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[Your full name] September 23, 2013 Fireflies (Lightening Bugs) Fireflies (lightening bugs) belong to the nocturnal family of beetles called Lampyridae (Megasko, para.2). There are other luminescent insects called glowworms that belong to the same family, but what makes fireflies different from them is that these have wings…
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[Your full September 23, Fireflies (Lightening Bugs) Fireflies (lightening bugs) belong to thenocturnal family of beetles called Lampyridae (Megasko, para.2). There are other luminescent insects called glowworms that belong to the same family, but what makes fireflies different from them is that these have wings. They can mostly be seen flying around in summer evenings. They undergo the typical 4 stage metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult). If we talk about firefly species, there are around 2000 species of fireflies that live in warm places and temperate environments (Hadley, para.2). This means that humid and warm regions are best suitable for their survival and growth. That is why, they are most commonly found in moist regions of Asia and America. Since they love to live in moisture, therefore in those areas which are naturally dry, these are found in damper regions where there is a lot of standing water in the form of streams and rivers. They grow up in rotten wood, forests, marshes, and at the edges of streams and ponds. It is very interesting to understand how the fireflies produce glow inside their bodies. Nature has equipped fireflies with a special organ hidden under their abdomen. This organ has special cells. When the firefly takes in oxygen, the cells carry out a reaction using this oxygen and a substance called luciferin. As a result of this reaction, intermittent light is produced. “The cells that make the light also have uric acid crystals in them that help to reflect the light away from the abdomen. Finally, the oxygen is supplied to the cells through a tube in the abdomen called the abdominal trachea” (“How Do Fireflies Light Up?”, para.5). It is interesting how this light is without any heat. Every species of fireflies produces a unique lightening pattern. These patterns act as signals, and help the fireflies to reach out to their mates. Research is still going on to figure out what enables the insects to turn off the glow when they want. The larvae of fireflies are also luminescent. Research suggests that this luminescent light makes the insect unappetizing to be eaten by other insects and animals, and thus, this light serves as a natural protector for fireflies. As for the reproduction, female fireflies lay eggs under the ground, where the larvae develop into adult fireflies by feeding on worms. Adult fireflies feed on nectar. Older adults remember catching fireflies in summer evenings and shutting them in glass jars; however, it is becoming a possibility that the younger generation or the coming one will not be able to enjoy this fun. This is because fireflies are disappearing or, in other words, they are getting extinct, taking away with them the magical feel of summer evenings. Research suggests that “development and light pollution” are two main reasons for this (“Disappearing Fireflies”, para.3). With technological and structural advancements, man has made pavements, pathways, streets, and buildings in open forests, marshes and fields, which used to be the dear places of fireflies. In waterways, there is noisy boat traffic and human crowd. Pesticides are also being used in these areas. These factors, when combined, pose great risk to the habitat and survival of fireflies. Housing and commercial advancements and developments bring pollution to these areas; and, this has nearly destroyed the natural habitat of such insects. Also, there is too much light at night today as it used to be some decades back. Developments have brought artificial glow to every building and place. Fireflies use their light signals to communicate with each other. Light signals are a natural defense for them; and, many species synchronize their light signals for special communication. Fireflies find their mates through these signals. Since the light pollution has increased, this has disturbed the light signal transfer of fireflies, thus, hindering with their natural communication method. Increasing light pollution makes it hard for them to send signals to their mates, and thus, the occurrence of mating and reproduction is becoming less every year. This results in fewer larvae every year, and thus, fewer fireflies. To conclude, fireflies are beautiful creatures that used to lighten up our summer evenings and nights in a magical way. They produce natural glow inside their bodies, and are a huge fascination both for adults and for kids. They live in moist and warm habitats. However, with the commercial development and increasing light pollution, their habitats are getting destroyed and they are not able to communicate among each other through their light signals anymore. This is posing great risk to their survival. Works Cited “Disappearing Fireflies.” Firefly. N.p., 2013. Web. 25 Sep 2013. . Hadley, Debbie. “Life Cycle of Fireflies and Lightning Bugs.” About.com: Insects. About.com, 2013. Web. 25 Sep 2013. . “How Do Fireflies Light Up?” Howstuffworks. How Stuff Works Inc., 2013. Web. 25 Sep 2013. . Megasko, Cherri. Where Have All the Fireflies (Lightning Bugs) Gone? Yahoo Inc., 2013. Web. 25 Sep 2013. . Read More
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