Photo: stunner vivian
Bioluminescent insects certainly look like they have more fun than other bugs – but don’t most bright things bedazzle human eyes? To many, they’re poetic examples of nature’s spectacular qualities, though if you were a more humble critter you might think fireflies and glow worms just a bit too flash…
Photinus Pyralis Firefly Photo: art farmer
So let’s see. Are lightning bugs and their like all show and no go, or do they have the substance to back up all that style? What’s more, how do you tell who’s who amidst all the glitz?
Anyone else feeling claustrophobic? Lightning bugs in a jar with long exposure
First up, some of the terms used to describe our bioluminescent buddies are somewhat misleading. Glow worm, for example, commonly refers to various different groups of insect larvae and adult larviform females – so called because they look like larvae – which glow through bioluminescence. They may look like worms, but they’re not; they’re insects. Don’t just take someone’s word for it about the model of their pimping new car; look under the hood and see for yourself.