By Rosie Moore

When I was a young girl, for a few weeks in the spring, I had the pleasure of running through the fields chasing fireflies. I remember well my mother giving me a jar with holes punched in the lid to  capture these amazing bugs of nature, and, later, I would  put the jar on my bedside table and watch them glow in the evening light. In later years, when I lived in the city, I didn’t see as many as when I was younger.

Seeing a sparkling carpet of fireflies in your backyard can be  magical experience but imagine seeing them all flashing at once in a symphony of light. Synchronous species of fireflies are very special and they exist only in a handful of places throughout the world. Here are some of the places you can find them:

Our Great Smoky Mountains is one of the best places and thought to be the only place where you could see synchronous fireflies in North America and it remains the best known. But, in 2012, a colony of those fireflies were found in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest. The best viewing in our area is from May 17 to June 21.

They do not always flash in unison, conditions must be right. The males fly but the females wait in trees to find their mate. The lights will last a few minutes then go completely dark. Other times they may flash randomly or along a hillside.

What a magnificent display for us humans to gaze on!

In 1952, the Mills Brothers recorded this song in honor of fireflies:

Shine, little glowworm, glimmer, glimmer,

Shine, little glowworm, glimmer, glimmer,

Lead us lest too far we wander,

Love’s sweet voice is calling yonder.

Light the path above, below

And lead us on to love.”

Once a year the glowworm leads  us on to love.

Thought for the day: God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame. Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

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