Saturday, May 26, 2012

Firefly Larvae and Pupae Bioluminescence

A few days ago when searching through a rotting stump I found these Firefly larvae and two pupae.  I took this 4 second exposure to capture the bioluminescence in their abdomens.  Any day the adult fireflies, which are a kind of soft winged beetle, will be emerging and flying the low areas adding their allure to late evening hikes at Springbrook and other natural areas. 
 The chemical/pigment luciferin combines with oxygen to cause the glowing "light" in fireflies.  An enzyme called luciferase speeds up the reaction to make them even brighter.  Nature and science combine in ways that make wonderful viewing for us.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful photograph - and a great illustration of firefly bioluminescence in every life stage! I wonder if these pupae might be Ellychnia - a diurnal firefly active in early spring?
    Sara Lewis