MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Why don't fireflies glow in captivity?

Date: Tue Jun 19 11:54:34 2001
Posted By: Rob Campbell, Ph.D Candidate, Oceanography, University of British Columbia
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 992915628.Zo

Hi Michael:

There's a couple of reasons that could explain why your fireflies aren't lighting up. Firstly, they're not in what you might call their "natural environment" - being crowded into a container might alter their behaviour a bit.
More importantly, fireflies use their glowing abdomens to find mates - if it's not mating time, there's no reason for them to burn up a bunch of energy for nothing!

I did a quick search of the web - this site suggests that if you're not getting much fire from your fireflies, try putting them in a jar, and then placing that jar in some warm water. That sounds plausible to me - insects are cold blooded, and not very active at lower temperatures. Be careful not to use water that's too hot though!

Hope that helps!
Rob Campbell, MAD Scientist

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