30 June 2006

Twisted fireflies at dusk

Went out to the woods late yesterday afternoon as the sun was approaching the horizon. I wanted to check the water level in the creek, which I assumed had flooded the low-lying areas of the forest following the endless rains we had been having. But, surprisingly, the creek didn't have any more water than usual. On the way back, the fireflies had started their activities, transforming the forest into a more enchanted state.


It proved difficult to catch them flashing while flying. The best shot above may or may not be showing one flashing; the light of the camera's flash gets reflected off the fly's light organ (they are actually beetles; Coleoptera: Lampyridae) and makes it look like it was flashing even when it wasn't.


These were rather small, probably about 6-8 mm long, fireflies. I noticed that when they are on a leaf or a twig, they twist their abdomens out from under their wings right before they flash. These 2 picture show them doing just that.


So if one figures out how soon after they twist their abdomens they usually flash and if their flash is long enough and if one is using a DSLR (with no lag time), then one can get a picture while a firefly is flashing. But that was easier said than done and all I got was pictures of twisted abdomens.

Can anybody tell what species they are?


Katie said...

What about setting the DSLR to shoot several shots right after another? Do you think that would work in terms of getting a good shot in there and catching the right moment???

Clare said...

I'd love to have seen that - fireflies in the forest. Magnificent.

Even if you didn't catch one actually flashing I think these are wonderful pictures nevertheless.

angie said...

Love your blog -- always great photos! This looks sort of like Photuris lucicrescens but that's just a guess. I posted about a very similar looking firefly a couple of weeks ago here.

heavenabove said...

I love the theme of your blog. I was just looking up fireflies when I ran into it. Nice pictures.