26 July 2009

Fireflies mating


Early Friday afternoon I stepped outside to get something from the car and saw all these fireflies flying around the front yard. Then I noticed one flashing on the leaf of a small plant with another flashing firefly hovering just a few centimeters above it. When I returned from the car a few seconds later, they had already started mating. I ran inside and returned with the camera a few minutes later and managed to take several shots. 10 minutes later they were still at it.

Is the larger individual on the right the female? Do you notice something odd about it? It was missing its right antenna. A short stump is visible. So, I guess one antenna is enough for a firefly to survive long enough and find a mate to pass on its genes.

I had never seen a male and a female firefly so close to each other communicating with their light signals. So, it does work! Evolution will never fail to impress and amaze me.

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