"Fireflies — whose shimmering, magical glows light up summer nights — are in trouble, threatened by habitat destruction, light pollution, and pesticide use. With 18 species now considered at risk of extinction in North America alone, recovery efforts are only just beginning."
"For millions of people around the globe, fireflies have been a big part of the magic of spring and early summer nights. They certainly were in our family. When my children were young, our field in central Massachusetts blazed with fireflies.
Before our firefly expeditions in the 1980s I’d recite “All About Fireflies All About,” in which David McCord celebrates “little lanterns sailing by, like stars across a mimic sky.” We would catch fireflies in butterfly nets, and Scott and Beth would keep them in glass jars by or in their beds. The following morning I made sure they released them where we caught them. In 2023 I saw three fireflies in our field.
Children should pursue fireflies early and often. Never will they forget coursing through high grass, sweeping little lanterns from that mimic sky.
Fireflies (beetles, not flies) exist on every continent save Antarctica. There may be as many as 2,400 species, and new ones are being discovered. As the adult season winds down in the North American autumn, it starts or is ongoing elsewhere. The larval season is continuous everywhere.
Yet some firefly populations are in trouble. Evidence so far is mostly anecdotal. Still, in North America alone, the Firefly Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has identified 18 species as “at risk of extinction.”
Ted Williams reports for Yale Environment 60 September 14, 2023.