Fireflies surround a sea almond tree in Camarines Sur, Luzon, Philippines
© Jurgen Freund/Minden Picture
Dance of the fireflies. A summertime light show
It’s the season for spotting fireflies, especially in the humid or damp areas that the winged beetles love. For fireflies themselves, it’s a season of love. They create these soft flashes of light as they search for a suitable mate. The glow is produced by a chemical reaction in a firefly’s abdomen. In addition to attracting a partner, the light is believed to deter potential predators by signaling that the insect’s chemical makeup may produce a foul taste or even be toxic. The fireflies in our homepage image were photographed with a long exposure in the Philippines, where fireflies are a popular tourist attraction. Some firefly species are known for their synchronized flashing, creating dramatic light shows in the dark.