the wonder of lightning bugs

Do you ever watch lightning bugs?  I was standing on my back porch last night, and there’s a huge open field behind my house.  I could see hundreds of lightning bugs, all of them flashing their patterns.

lightning bugThey’re also known as the firefly.  They create the light using certain enzymes that react together.  They use this light for our enjoyment.  🙂  No, really, it’s for mating purposes.  They create unique courtship patterns.  I don’t understand this.  Does this female firefly get interested because one guy has 5 flashes in quick succession?  Or does the rhythm of the flashing make her want to dance?  I guess it doesn’t matter…

Scientists are trying to reproduce this chemical (luciferase) in the lab through genetic engineering for other purposes.  So far they have been able to synthesize it and get other living things to produce the protein, such as mice (of course), silkworms, and potatoes.  [Ed. note: potatoes?!?  Would you eat glowing potatoes?]

What if they can cause humans to produce it?  Wouldn’t it be weird if we could make our butts light up?  🙂

3 thoughts on “the wonder of lightning bugs

  1. becky

    we are having a lightning bug famine. well, we are only seeing a few of them, and i really want my kids to see them… in past years this one tree has had so many it looked like a really lit up christmas tree. you could even see leaves all the time because it was so bright. wish i knew why…

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