I got a kick out of this info....The males are the ones who flash...wouldn't you know it? The boys are out lighting up the night,while the ladies are waiting...
Fireflies aren't flies — they're beetles — and they spend most of their lives underground. Their nighttime light shows happen during their final two weeks of existence.
And what's the point of that magical display, anyway? It's all about producing more fireflies.
"They're using these flashes to attract a mate," says firefly researcher and ecologist Kristian Demary. "The males are the ones flying around flashing. Females are perched on grass and they will respond with a female species-specific response."
It's in that "species-specific response" that things can get interesting. There's not just one "firefly," but a number of different kinds. There are some behavioral differences — how high they fly, how late in the evening they become active — but they look so similar physically that their flashes, which vary in color, length, and pattern of repetition, are the main way to tell them apart. And they can use these flash patterns not only to attract a mate, but to fool each other: Some mimic the patterns of another species and then eat the hopeful mate.
" Want to entice fireflies to your yard?
If you're partial to fireflies, these tips will help keep them in your yard:
— Fireflies are beetles (not flies), so avoid using anti-beetle products in your garden— They spend most of their lives as grubs underground, so they are affected by anti-grub pesticides and by any disturbance to the soil. The grubs eat other invertebrates in the soil, so other pesticides may affect their source of food.
— Don't mow your grass too short. Mature fireflies prefer tall grass, and frequent mowing contributes to drier, packed-down soil, which is bad for the grubs.
— Minimize the use of outside lighting, which may affect their ability to communicate and find mates.
In places where firefly populations have dwindled, it seems increasing development is to blame. Some species with aquatic larvae in southeast Asia have declined by 70 percent in the last three years due to water pollution, says Demary.
Fireflies are sensitive to habitat disturbance and to moisture levels in the soil, and other human activities may affect them as well. For example, researchers suspect that artificial light, like streetlights, has an impact on their ability to find each other and mate, which may affect either total numbers or the diversity of species.