Tag: Fireflies

  1. A Firefly Season Recap from the Experts

    A Firefly Season Recap from the Experts By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director In Southern Appalachia, late May through June is a time of birth. Wildflower blooms erupt, fawns and cubs scamper through the woods, and baby birds test their wings. When night falls, other creatures take flight. For the charismatic, glowing beetles we know as fireflies, it’s not the Read more...
  2. Charismatic Beetles Light up the Night

    Charismatic Beetles Light up the Night By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced Tuesday, April 27, that its popular synchronous firefly viewing event in Elkmont Campground will resume this year June 1–8 after a hiatus last spring to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In 2019, the spectacle had attracted more than 28,000 people Read more...
  3. Illuminating the Magic and Mystery: An Interview with Radim Schreiber, Firefly Photographer

    Illuminating the Magic and Mystery: An Interview with Radim Schreiber, Firefly Photographer   By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director  One of our favorite products that we sell in our GSMA bookstores is Radim Schreiber’s book, Firefly Experience. The coffee-table book has a glowing cover and contains scores of amazing photographs of lighting bugs both in the Smokies and throughout the country. For our latest Read more...
  4. Catch the Firefly Experience

    Catch the Firefly Experience While things brought many changes, one symbolic event of summer stayed true—the appearance of fireflies. And though firefly season is slowly coming to an end, there are still many ways to experience the magic of these wonderful creatures. Firefly photographer and videographer Radim Schreiber partnered with Great Smoky Mountains Association Read more...
  5. Radim Schreiber Captures the Magic

    Radim Schreiber Captures the Magic By Frances Figart, Creative Director Radim Schreiber didn’t get to see fireflies as a child growing up in the Czech Republic. So, when he discovered them in the United States, he was blown away. “I was in awe,” he says. “That magical night experience was (and still is) just fascinating to me. It made me feel connected Read more...
  6. Blue Ghosts: Spirits of the Forest Part 2

    Blue Ghosts: Spirits of the Forest Part 2 By Gus Elmore, former intern at Discover Life in America, and Will Kuhn, DLiA’s Director of Science and Research In Part 1 of this two-part series, we learned about the blue ghost firefly (Phausis reticulata), so named for the ghostly light produced by males in their slow, silent search for females in the forests of Appalachia. We also Read more...
  7. Blue Ghosts: Spirits of the Forest Part 1

    Blue Ghosts: Spirits of the Forest Part 1 By Gus Elmore, former intern at Discover Life in America, and Will Kuhn, DLiA’s Director of Science and Research The synchronous firefly may hog the limelight, but another kind of firefly is perhaps underappreciated given its suite of fascinating characteristics: the blue ghost firefly (Phausis reticulata). This species is so named for the Read more...
  8. Coming Soon To A Tree Near You: Spring Fireflies!

    Coming Soon To A Tree Near You: Spring Fireflies! By Will Kuhn, Director of Science and Research at Discover Life in America Over the past week, there has been a veritable explosion of green in my small Knoxville backyard. Trees are flowering, bees are buzzing around them, birds have begun singing their melodies, and leafy greenness suddenly abounds. Spring is officially here, and yet something Read more...
  9. Fireflies and Bioluminescence - An Interview with Will Kuhn

    One of the most exciting and fabulously popular events each year in late May and early-to-mid June is the flashy mating ritual of the synchronous fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains. This year’s peak dates for firefly viewing are June 7-14 and thousands of visitors will be gathering, just as they have for years, near the Elkmont Campground to observe this naturally occurring phenomenon. 

    Why does Photinus carolinus attract not only its mate but also a large human fan club through its rhythmic flashing? We asked Dr. William R. Kuhn, a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tennessee, to illuminate this topic.

    FF: First of all, how are you involved with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and what makes it exciting for you? 

    WK: I am a member of Discover Life in America's board and have recently become chair of the Science Committee. In addition, I've helped with the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory's sampling effort, including collecting assassin bugs (predatory insects related to stink bugs and cicadas) in the park, as they were considered under-studied here. So far, this work has resulted in a new species record for the park. Every time I work in the Smokies, I think to myself what a privilege it is to be in such a beautiful and diverse place! 

    Read more...
  10. How Does the Park Service Forecast When the Fireflies Will Flash?

    Ever since Elkmont's synchronous fireflies became an internationally celebrated event with many tens of thousands of would-be attendees vying for some 4,000 available slots, the question of when the fireflies will flash has become a critical one.

    Several years ago -- before the current firefly prediction system was initiated -- an unusually warm spring provoked the famed fireflies into an exceptionally early performance, meaning that by the time the lucky winners of the event’s www.recreation.gov lottery arrived for the show, the bioluminescent beetles had courted and bred and put away their flashers for the year.

    Read more...

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