Tag Archives: Mating Rituals

The Firefly Fandango

 

The fireflies come out to play over the hills and far away, dancing and spinning as fast as they can, doing the fandango, the firefly fandango.

 

Day’s heat gives ground to cooler skies, firefly males give excited cries, steam snakes up in smoky mist, the prelude to a midnight kiss. The males dance and hop on the backs of water drops. Firefly males know quite well, how to set the mating spell. In flights and duels they do not rest, to show their ladies who are best.

 

Way above, stars do shine, with silver moon of grand design. Now the meadows are awash with light that stays, heralding a different kind than that of day.

 

A campfire glows upon the ground, its crackles and hisses the only sound. Sparks shoot  high into the night, to blend with firefly delight . Darting above the fireflies dance . . . a hundred, thousands or maybe more  . . . flashing on the rainy dance floor.

 

Fanciful females with wings too short, watch from leaves as males cavort.  Who will be the one they choose of the many males who pursue? The males blink their fiery fandango dance in the spirit of romance.  Each dance is unique, no one else has quite that beat.

 

Females dust off their opera glasses to better see, who is the one with whom they’ll  be. They sit below where they can see, while males fill the night air, saying “Choose me, choose Me!”

 

One blink, two blinks, three blinks, four, five blinks, six blinks, seven blinks more. The males fly in shimmering conga lines with patterns of many different kinds.

 

Hens and chicks see the lights, go inside to sleep for the rest of night.  Other birds don’t join the dance, they guard the flies who have their chance.

 

Raccoon eyes perk up with glee, now they have lights to see.

 

Gentle deer lift trusting eyes, to the flight of fireflies. The fireflies use their lights to say “Come out, Come out!  It’s time to play!”

 

Children rush with delight. Magic floats within their sight. All day long they wait for this, right before the bedtime kiss.  Scampering, darting here to there, they bend and swoop and sway with care. They dance with tiny blinks of light . . . a magical moment of summer delight.

 

They’ve made fly nests in clear glass jars, to make them homes of inside stars. As they lay their heads down to sleep, they release the flies to light dark deep.  They nestle into nighttime slumber by the blinks of summer wonder.

 

 

Firefly facts

 

There are more than 2,000 kinds of fireflies. Most fireflies use light to talk with each other although there are some that do not.

 

A fandango is a type of Spanish and Mexican dance where the females make flashing movements with their arms and males make rapid foot movements. Humans do the dance to attract mates, just like fireflies.

 

Way down in the warm tropic air the fireflies dance in synchronization. Yet they are shy and will only light in deep darkness, shunning areas people have lit with lights of their own. They are becoming increasingly endangered.  As more human lights light the skies, they may not survive because they can’t adapt to the ever-changing conditions.  As a result, “light pollution” and pesticides that kill off fireflies and their food are causing the species to die out.

 

Fireflies are rarely seen in Europe or Africa; they prefer to live in Asia and east of the Rocky Mountains in North America, areas that have greater humidity.

 

In Japan they are thought of as reflections of love and as the souls of their ancestors.

 

Fireflies also use their lights to define their personal territories or to let other fireflies know danger exists.

 

The ancient Chinese used to collect fireflies, just as children now do, to bring them in to light their homes.

 

They live in forests, marshes and meadows near moisture. Females lay their eggs on or just under the ground about 3-4 weeks after they mate, just after they come out of winter hibernation.

 

Fireflies are nocturnal; they only come out during at night.

 

Fireflies eat the larvae (young eggs) of other species for food.

 

 

References

 

“Fireflies: enigmatic, enchanting, endangered”,

www.firefly.org/facts-about-fireflies.html

 

“Firefly (Lightening Bug)” http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bug/firefly

 

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly.html