Out here in Oregon and into California, we have our handsome banana slugs, but the real beauties in summertime for our east coast and Midwest friends, are fireflies.
Growing up in Ohio, fireflies were our summertime treasure. They magically lit the humid summer nights, with the crickets as their chorus, and when they were gone, it was time to go back to school.
I recall seeing them everywhere as a kid, but when I moved to Massachusetts, I noticed, in the summers, they were nowhere to be found. I just assumed they’d be everywhere in summer, but apparently that isn’t the case, because when I moved to Oregon, I didn’t see them here, either.
I hope you’re blessed enough to live in a location where they live, but if not, it’s worth taking a trip someday to catch a magical display of their beauty.
Fireflies, known as Lampyridae, and are not actually flies, but beetles. Their bioluminescent chemical that makes them special is called Luciferin, and it’s 100% cold light, so it’s also 100% energy efficient!
This same bioluminescence can be found in other forms of life such as fungi, marine life, glowworms, gnats, and snails. We haven’t seen any of our banana slugs light up, but we’ll keep hoping!
There are many different types of fireflies, and not all of them light, but the most popular of the fireflies are the Synchronous Fireflies.
They are the ones, that every year, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, thousands of families travel to see. According to the park, the mating season (or the time that the most fireflies are present, and emitting their glow) is from the third week in May to around the third week in June.
WHERE’S THE PARTY?
In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, around early June, the park hosts a Synchronous Firefly viewing event. The park shuttles guests from the Sugarlands Visitor Center area, and takes them to the Elkmont viewing area.
The park hosts a lottery beginning in April for guests to sign up for a lottery to be shuttled to the viewing area. Names are released in May whether their application for a parking pass to the event has been successful or unsuccessful.
To get an insider’s view into the event, watch this video:
This year the event takes place from Thursday, June 7 to Thursday, June 14,so unless you know someone who’s got one, looks like you’ll have to wait ‘til next year.
In the meantime, you can enjoy this beautiful video post on YouTube to get you in the spirit of summer…
Credit to the Great Smoky Mountains Nature page for this information, found here: