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Speaking of Fireflies...


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#21 Christopher

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 12:16 PM

Nick, on Jul 25 2004, 12:58 PM, said:

Although I somehow doubt a domestic cat is going to bother with fireflies . . . even as slow as the insects are, a small flightless mammal is going to have a tough time catching them.
I'm not sure I agree with the characterization of cats as "flightless." :D
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#22 Orpheus

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 01:21 PM

Yes, cats can be quite flighty.

#23 Cardie

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 07:40 PM

A somewhat grisly story about cat aeronautic predation.  I caught one of my larger fellows who had just stunned a baby cardinal.  I pulled him off, and the bird started to fly away, but couldn't get a lot of altitude.  Bam! one of my other cats had charged out from the porch and seized it in flight.  :(

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#24 misterMel_Q

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 12:39 AM

It might be interesting to note that the types of bats that live in the same areas as fireflys are mostly insectivores.  Most of them can see well enough to spot a firefly, but I doubt the firefly would look any more appetizing to a bat than the 1000's of insects we can't see.  I also vaguely remember something about  the enzymes involved in the firefly's 'light' being repugnant.  I'll try to look it up tomorrow, it may be a seperate form of natural chemical repellant altogether. Since a large number of insects and vertabrates also have a protective repugnance, a seperate enzyme would make more sense than my memory does. (which isn't that hard to do really :lol: )

#25 Raina

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 01:45 AM

I don't think I've ever seen a firefly. Where in North America do they tend to live?

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#26 Orpheus

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 08:28 AM

I'm guessing you're west of the Rockies. AFAIK, there are no fireflies there.

Here's a list of sightings by state and county.

#27 QueenTiye

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 08:40 AM

Wow, Orpheus! Thanks for that site!  I didn't know that we know so little about fireflies!  I always assumed that they were very well understood creatures.    According to this website, we don't know their migratory patterns (or if they have any), and we don't know what they like to eat.  How do we go about finding that out?

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#28 Zanthra

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 01:59 PM

What I found interesting is the fact that you dislike bugs, but caught the firefly as soon as you knew it was a firefly.  ;)  I dont know much about fireflies myself.

#29 QueenTiye

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 02:24 PM

Bugs I like (in no particular order)

Fireflies
Ladybugs
Ants (the little brown or black ones. Don't much like the big scary ones, nor any really red ones.)
Butterflies
Dragonflies

:)

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#30 Angelan

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 03:22 PM

Ants are infesting my kitchen at the moment.  I'm methodically massacreing them, but they're not pleasant!

I cooked an omlette and had to throw it away because the ants had crawled into the frying pan whilst I was making it.  Okay, so it probably wasn't a very nice experience for them either, but that isn't going to stop me hating the little creatures ;).
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#31 QueenTiye

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 03:29 PM

Angelan, on Jul 30 2004, 04:20 PM, said:

Ants are infesting my kitchen at the moment.  I'm methodically massacreing them, but they're not pleasant!

I cooked an omlette and had to throw it away because the ants had crawled into the frying pan whilst I was making it.  Okay, so it probably wasn't a very nice experience for them either, but that isn't going to stop me hating the little creatures ;).
That's one of the things I find fascinating about ants.  They can totally take over a place in such a short amount of time... and they are so organized about it! Fascinating creatures.

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#32 Christopher

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 06:01 PM

I don't even particularly care for the pretty ones like butterflies.  They can be as pretty as they like, just so long as they do it over there.

At my old house we had a perennial problem with ladybugs getting inside through cracks in the windows or somewhere -- we never could figure out where.  This is an imported Asian strain that was brought in a few years ago to fight some kind of pests or help out some kind of tree or flower, and they're more aggressive about getting into houses (or more interested in finding hideyholes and crawling through tiny cracks) than the domestic kind.  So they're harmless, but a nuisance.  We got into the habit of vacuuming them up with a handheld Dustbuster-type vacuum (harmless to them) and dumping them out on the front porch.  Whereupon many of them no doubt flew around the house and came right back in through the back again.
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#33 QueenTiye

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 11:13 PM

^^AWWWW but they're good luck!!! :D  You're supposed to catch them, tell them your wish and then set them free! (Thing is, they are lazy... lots of time when you try to set them free they crawl around like "What, you wanted me to fly or something?"  LOL!)

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#34 QueenTiye

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 02:09 PM

http://news.yahoo.co...ading_fireflies

I read about this years ago - I think in Orpheus's link above, that fireflies may be dying out, and that we don't know why, or what to do about it.  Here's more in support of that growing concern. :(

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#35 Nikcara

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 09:20 PM

I think I'm one of the few people out there who doesn't really like ladybugs.  I don't mind bugs in general, but for some reason I had a long period of time whenever I was going to have a really bad day, like getting hearing news of a friend dying suddenly or something like that, I would always have ladybugs crawl into my room and die on my pillow or something.  Then when I got to college, I saw some ladybugs in a room I was in, so I picked one up to take it outside and the stupid thing bit me!  I found out later it wasn't an actual ladybug but something people around here call "potato bugs" (I'm used to potato bugs being something else).  Stupid thing managed to draw blood!

I don't mind any other bugs really, except scorpions.
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#36 D.Rabbit

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 02:43 PM

What I have noticed about the fireflies that share my property, is that they stay in amoungst the pines and cedars. Very difficult for a bat to eat them without crashing into the thick foliage.  I suspect spiders are their worst enemy. Even spiders don't like cedars. The only thing I have ever seen in the cedars are ants. It's the only creature that eats dead cedar.  Pines are not as acidic but I just cut down a half dozen or so, and there where no spiders to be found in them.
So even if they are not toxic, they know that most birds don't hunt in the evenings, and that cedars and pines are a very safe place to cavort.
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#37 Orpheus

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 08:55 AM

I've been meaning to mention this for a few weeks, but I've been seeing lightning bugs in this area for the first time in maybe 20-30 years! I lived near here in the 70s, and they were quite common then, but I don't recall seeing them in the 90s at all. My kids almost never saw them in their entire childhoods, and only when we were far from home.

Anyone else? Is it just local or perhaps (hope, hope) more widespread?

#38 Lyric of Delphi

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 10:55 AM

It seems there are more this year than in past years, and they come out during the day, which is unusual. At the beginning of summer I didn't even know what of bug they were, as I'd never seen them in daylight before. I'd say there is a definite increase.

#39 QueenTiye

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 02:11 PM

Wow!  I was just talking about this topic on the 4th, and for the same reason - they're ALL over the place!  I was mentioning to someone about the fact that I'd started this topic.  Wow...

I see them not in the daytime per se, but in the early dusk before it can rightly be called dark.  There really are a lot of them this year. I wonder why?

QT

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#40 Orpheus

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 05:38 PM

Well, the entomologists are attributing it to all the usual suspects, like weather (as well as some diminution in pesticides, light pollution and other things they believe, without hard evidence, to have caused the decline, and which they have no evidence has diminished)

Well, heck, I can speculate with the best of them. Up here we had an unusually long cool, wet spring, and this meant a lot less lawn care: less mowing (fireflies live on the ground most of the day and prefer longish grass to fresh mown, as do the insects that their larvae feed on. I've read, without evidentiary support that the females like lawns) an maybe less weeding and insecticides. The economic downturn of the last few years may have led to a decease in pesticides and meticulous lawn case, as well as more careful use of outdoor lights.

While I suppose most of the Northeast probably shared our long cool wet spring. I've since found articles in MA, NH, VT, NY,, PA, WV, MD, DC and VA attesting to the firefly increase this year (with the southern Northeast corridor reporting a much earlier arrival than usual, as well as more fireflies), I don't know if that weather pattern extended as far as Elkmont TN, where the famous synchronous fireflies are said to be having a particularly good year.

It could actually be a longer trend that was *dampened* by the weather in some recent years. I found newspaper articles saying that 2007 and 2009 were very good years, but I don't recall seeing them here last year when we had spring flooding all over MA (but that was thaw over frozen ground and might have been *too much* water for the larval stage to survive)

The FireFly Watch project run by the Boston Museum of Science hasn't been much help. I can't seem to pull up their historical data on this computer.


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