Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fireflies Burning Out?

With mounting evidence that fireflies are disappearing, researchers in New England started a citizen science project.

Boston's Museum of Science teamed up with Tufts University and Fitchburg State College to ask regular people to spend 10 minutes one night each week of the summer tracking the number of fireflies they see in their yards.

Researchers surmise that pesticides and outdoor lighting, among other things, may be affecting lightning bugs' habitat.

It looks like citizens from all over the country have signed on, though it doesn't appear that anyone from Memphis is registered to participate.

The museum has a very cute virtual habitat feature to teach its aspiring data collectors about flash color, pattern, and location. For instance, the male will flash while patrolling an area while the female will flash from a perch. Who knew?

Here's a story in USAToday about the anecdotal evidence that supports the diminishing numbers of fireflies theory.


Stacey Greenberg said...

we've seen a ton in the old forest.

marycash said...

well, you should sign up for the science experiment, document all the fireflies, and then have the old forest designated as a firefly habitat preservation zone.

Anonymous said...

I have been saying for years that there are a lot less fire flies compared to when I was a child 20 years ago.