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  1. Reviews of Ozarks books and museums by John Mort
  2. See a Problem?
  3. Illuminating the Secret Language of Lightning Bugs
  4. Lightning Bug by Donald Harington

  1. Stay More Series.
  2. Réflexions sur le Monde moderne et les Cacahuètes (FICTION) (French Edition).
  3. The End of the World.

Every Dill holds Latha captive, rapes her, and then disappears. He returns many years later as a repentant, rueful evangelist, and the strange, tragicomic love affair resumes. This first one is joyous—a warm summer evening in a lost time. The characters are hillbillies, yet universal. Lightning Bug reaches its conclusion, sort of, when Jesus comes down from the mountain to speak to Latha in her peach orchard.

What I was talking about. Most fireflies are quite distasteful to eat and sometimes poisonous to vertebrate predators. This is due at least in part to a group of steroid pyrones known as lucibufagins , which are similar to cardiotonic bufadienolides found in some poisonous toads. Light production in fireflies is due to a type of chemical reaction called bioluminescence. This process occurs in specialized light-emitting organs , usually on a firefly's lower abdomen.

The enzyme luciferase acts on the luciferin , in the presence of magnesium ions, ATP , and oxygen to produce light.

Reviews of Ozarks books and museums by John Mort

Gene coding for these substances has been inserted into many different organisms see Luciferase — Applications. The genetics of firefly bioluminescence, focusing on luciferase , has been reviewed by John Day. All fireflies glow as larvae.

In lampyrid larvae, bioluminescence serves a function that is different from that served in adults. It appears to be a warning signal to predators , since many firefly larvae contain chemicals that are distasteful or toxic. Photic emission in adult beetles was originally thought to be used for similar warning purposes, but it is now understood that its primary purpose is in mate selection.

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It has been shown that early larval bioluminescence was adopted in adult fireflies, and was repeatedly gained and lost before becoming fixed and retained as a mechanism of sexual communication in many species. Flash signaling characteristics include differences in duration, timing, color, and repetition, and vary interspecifically and geographically.

Some species, especially lightning bugs of the genera Photinus , Photuris , and Pyractomena , are distinguished by the unique courtship flash patterns emitted by flying males in search of females. In general, females of the genus Photinus do not fly, but do give a flash response to males of their own species. Tropical fireflies, in particular, in Southeast Asia, routinely synchronise their flashes among large groups. This phenomenon is explained as phase synchronization [18] and spontaneous order. At night along river banks in the Malaysian jungles, fireflies synchronize their light emissions precisely.

Current hypotheses about the causes of this behavior involve diet, social interaction, and altitude. In the Philippines, thousands of fireflies can be seen all year-round in the town of Donsol called aninipot or totonbalagon in Bicol. In the United States, one of the most famous sightings of fireflies blinking in unison occurs annually near Elkmont, Tennessee , in the Great Smoky Mountains during the first weeks of June.

Female Photuris fireflies are known for mimicking the photic signaling patterns of other fireflies for the sole purpose of predation ; they often prey upon smaller Photinus fireflies. For this reason, Photuris species are sometimes referred to as " femme fatale fireflies". Many fireflies do not produce light. Usually these species are diurnal, or day-flying, such as those in the genus Ellychnia.

A few diurnal fireflies that inhabit primarily shadowy places, such as beneath tall plants or trees, are luminescent.

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One such genus is Lucidota. Non-bioluminescent fireflies use pheromones to signal mates. This is supported by the fact that some basal groups do not show bioluminescence and use chemical signaling, instead. Phosphaenus hemipterus has photic organs, yet is a diurnal firefly and displays large antennae and small eyes. These traits strongly suggest pheromones are used for sexual selection, while photic organs are used for warning signals. In controlled experiments, males coming from downwind arrived at females first, indicating males travel upwind along a pheromone plume.

Males were also found to be able to find females without the use of visual cues, when the sides of test Petri dishes were covered with black tape. This and the facts that females do not light up at night and males are diurnal point to the conclusion that sexual communication in P. Firefly systematics , as with many insects, are in a constant state of flux, as new species continue to be discovered.

Illuminating the Secret Language of Lightning Bugs

The five subfamilies listed above are the most commonly accepted ones, though others, such as the Amydetinae and Psilocladinae, have been proposed. This was mainly done in an attempt to revise the Lampyrinae , which bit by bit had become something of a " wastebin taxon " to hold incertae sedis species and genera of fireflies.

Other changes have been proposed, such as merging the Ototretinae into the Luciolinae , but the arrangement used here appears to be the most frequently seen and stable layout for the time being. Though most groups appear to be monophyletic , some e. Two groups of subfamilies seem to exist: While the subfamilies as understood here are, in general, monophyletic , a few genera still need to be moved for the subfamilies to accurately represent the evolutionary relationships among the fireflies.

The Rhagophthalmidae are a glow-worm-like lineage of Elateroidea. Some fireflies will flicker when threatened by a predator or caught in a spiderweb. For the last 26 years, Lynn Faust has been working to catalog and decipher the bioluminescent Morse Code each species flickers out come spring and summer. Take Photinus pyralis, one of the largest and most recognizable fireflies in the eastern U.

On warm summer evenings from mid-June to early July, the males of this species can be found floating about your backyard as dusk falls, usually about waist-high. And while many closely related insect species can only be told apart by dissection and close-up examination of their genitalia, you can identify this one without ever laying hands on it.

Just look for the leisurely scrawled "J" shape their butts drag across the darkening sky. That shape has also earned them the nickname "Big Dippers. Elsewhere in firefly pageantry, Photuris pennsylvanica can be recognized across the Mid-Atlantic states from its quick, yellow-green flash followed by a longer pulse that lasts one to three seconds. Faust calls this firefly the "Dot-dash. It then repeats the maneuver three seconds later.

Lightning Bug by Donald Harington

Look for them as far north as Pennsylvania and south to Tennessee. These males sport a bluish-green lamp that they can leave on for a minute or more as they hover near the ground looking for a female. By and large, firefly displays are about finding that special someone. This can look particularly eerie, says Faust, because you see these lights moving across the ground but not the lightning bug.

Warmer weather, for instance, means the displays get a little extra pep in their step. Likewise, colder temperatures have a slow-motion effect.

What Makes Some Animals Glow?

Desperate to mate, males soar in to investigate what looks like an amorous female of their own species, and are promptly devoured. In fact, a firefly spends the vast majority of its life one to two years as a ravenous little larvae known as a glow-worm.