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Nature In The Natural State: Fireflies in an Open Meadow

This month, we are sharing our own personal experiences in nature.

On 40 acres of open meadow near Ward, Ark. on a temperate May evening just at nightfall, it begins. Gradually, here and there, then seemingly everywhere at once, the high grass of the field lights up with an absolute storm of insect paparazzi-flashes as tens of thousands of fireflies take to the air in their own version of a massive date night extravaganza.

We are able to distinguish 4 distinct patterns of the males flashing, the females responding to the patterns they like. Some meet up in the grass, others in bushes, a few in the air, and an elite crew gradually make their way to the boughs of a huge oak tree, illuminating it like an illustration in an enchanted fairy tale.

Fireflies only live about a year. They will repeat this mating dance nightly for two weeks and then, as eggs are laid, it will dissipate, and the fireflies will die. But what a beautiful culmination of their life cycle to see and to respect.