Text Only Version

JULY 2001

Fireflies

Come Fly With Me

By Lev Grossman

You have to hand it to the humble lightning bug: come summertime, the little guys mix a bunch of enzymes in their hindquarters, and otherwise sane and sober individuals everywhere (or at least east of Kansas, where fireflies are generally found) suddenly start running around their backyards waving mason jars with holes punched in the lids. What's all the fuss about?

For answers, consult the Firefly Files, a handy collection of facts, photos and wisdom about members of the Lampyridae family (which, it turns out, aren't flies at all they're beetles). Professor James Lloyd a.k.a. The Firefly Doc publishes a (highly) irregular newsletter called The Fireflyer Companion & Letter that features firefly trivia, firefly crossword puzzles and the (mercifully) occasional firefly-inspired poem. And don't miss the home page of Donald Ray Burger, who's leading the fight to bring fireflies back to Houston, from whence they mysteriously disappeared years ago. Are fire ants the culprits? Mosquito spray? No one knows. But if Burger gets too nostalgic for the fireflies of his youth, he'll find they're alive and well on the Web.

Copyright 2001 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

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