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Geobop's Pennsylvania Symbols (Page 4, the state fish, insect, and fossil)

Geobop’s Symbols: . . Pennsylvania:
The Keystone State
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. . . Pennsylvania (Page 4) . .

Introduction
Flower
Tree
Penngift
Bird
Mammal
.Groundhog.Day
Fish
Insect
Fossil

GEOLINKS

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Fish
Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

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Introduction
Flower
Tree
Penngift
Bird
Mammal
.Groundhog.Day
Fish
Insect
Fossil

GEOLINKS

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Insect
“Pennsylvania Firefly” (Photuris pennsylvanica)

   Pennsylvania’s state insect is the legacy of Highland Park Elementary School, in the town of Upper Darby. It all began when some third grade students read an article about Maryland adopting a state insect. When they discovered that Pennsylvania didn’t have an official insect, they realized that they could make history!

   The twenty-six students voted on candidates and came up with a winner—the firefly. Fireflies are abundant in Pennsylvania, yet aren’t considered pests. No other state had adopted the firefly. And what could be more beautiful than a firefly on a summer’s evening? They even discovered a firefly with the scientific name Photuris pennsylvanica!

   The students got advice and support from legislators. They kept busy circulating petitions, writing letters, even making bumper stickers. Their hard work paid off when Governor Milton J. Shapp signed the firefly bill on April 10, 1974.

   A couple years later, the students were presented with a bronze plaque in the shape of a keystone. It now hangs in the front hall of Highland Park Elementary School.

   The firefly bill was amended on December 5, 1988. I’m not sure exactly what was changed, but the firefly remains Pennsylvania’s state insect.

   Tennessee adopted the firefly and ladybug the very next year, but only Pennsylvania recognizes the species Photuris pennsylvanica. I don’t know if it has a common name, but you could probably call it the Pennsylvania firefly!

   The great majority of state insects are butterflies, ladybugs, or the introduced honeybee. Thus, Pennsylvania’s firefly is quite unique.

   By the way, fireflies are actually beetles. They’re more closely related to ladybugs than they are to flies.

   Biologists study animals. Things that are luminescent glow in the dark. Combine “biologist” and “luminescent,” and you get bioluminescent. Living things that glow in the dark, such as fireflies, are said to be bioluminescent.

   Because of bioluminescence, Pennsylvania has one of the few state symbols that glows in the dark!

See a picture of a firefly, courtesy of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Check out two  fabulous firefly pictures! Firefly information is available from Knowledge Adventures, Inc. Texas firefly fan Donald Ray Burger offers firefly facts and firefly links. For a real adventure, check out the Bioluminescence Web Page, even if it does focus mainly on marine animals!

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Introduction
Flower
Tree
Penngift
Bird
Mammal
.Groundhog.Day
Fish
Insect
Fossil

GEOLINKS

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Fossil
Trilobite (Phacops rana)

 

GEOLINKS
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.(Unless noted otherwise, all flags on this site are used courtesy of Global Perspectives.).

Thanks for sniffing around,
and remember—
a nation without bears
would be unbearable!

This page was launched in July 1998,
and was last modified 07/24/98.

Copyright 1998

Geobopological Survey www.geobop.com
PO Box 95465, Seattle, WA 98145-2465
(206) 527-1690

David Blomstrom, Chief Ranger & Webmaster E-mail

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