Fireflies have astonished the human mind and imagination for centuries. They have embraced nicknames such as”lightning bug,” or”glow worm.” As soon as we experience them, they seem to be small light bulbs which float in the air, blinking to inaudible music and captivating our eyes with mystique and wonder. They’ve taken their place in human myth from ancient Mayan civilization to contemporary Japanese and synchronized blinking, which occurs in many diverse areas around the world, create a atmosphere of inquiry and amazement.
For those folks who are more objective in our reasoning, we might ask ourselves, what is the mechanism behind the wall of wonder and how has it come to be?
Fireflies are mostly nocturnal animals with soft and brown bodies, although more leathery than traditional beetles. Their act of producing light in the abdomen area is referred to as bioluminescence, which explains, quite well, the procedure used to generate the hypnotically titillating visual spectacle.
The light is formed through a chemical reaction which happens in the body. The active agent, Luciferase; a heat inducing enzyme, binds with its heat resistant substrate, Luciferin. This interaction between these two chemicals generates the energy necessary to give off light.
There are two chief reasons why fireflies glow during the night: mating and impending danger. Since there are some 2,000 unique sorts of fireflies around the planet, the light patterns emitted are specific to its particular kind. Once a match is found, mating can occur. After mating, the eggs are strategically placed in moist soil, where sowbug-like larvae will hatch in 3 weeks. These baby fireflies live for up to two years under floor, hunting and preying on earthworms, snails, slugs and fleas.
Fireflies are very efficient light producers. Their ability to generate light in a cost-effective way has sparked a number of research and development projects in the region of bioluminescence, regarding its possible human applications. To put things into perspective, the efficacy rate with the fireflies use to generate light hovers around 90%, where as the normal household light bulb has a rate of nearly 10%.
Fireflies are interesting not only because they capture our minds and spirits, but also because they might function as a key to better and more efficient energy conservation.