Synchronous Fireflies

Fireflies are just starting to emerge in southwestern Pennsylvania and with them the opportunity to see a very special phenomenon.

Most fireflies flash individually but in a few special places on earth — pockets in the Appalachians and in Thailand — the males flash in synchrony.   While the female fireflies wait on the ground, the males fly above and flash together, blinking in synchrony then pausing for a few seconds.  Their display is so beautiful that these sites have become meccas for firefly lovers.

Right now this light show is going on in Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Elkmont, Tennessee as you can see in the video above.

If Tennessee is too far away, you can see lightning bugs closer to home in the Allegheny National Forest.  Synchronous fireflies were discovered there in 2011 and studied in 2012 by the experts from Tennessee who found that we have the same species that displays in the forest near Elkmont.

See them for yourself at the first annual PA Firefly Festival, 21-23 June 2013 at the Black Caddis Ranch Bed & Breakfast in Kellettville, PA.  Volunteers will guide you to the light show from 9:00pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday.  Visit the PA Firefly Festival website for more information.

We’re lucky to have such a cool light show near home.

(video from Knoxville News Sentinel on YouTube)

5 thoughts on “Synchronous Fireflies

  1. How totally incredible! I used to love to sit on the porch when I lived in Alabama and watch them for hours on end!

  2. Interesting. I have seen the same thing at the “Scouts Only” campsite at Fort Necessity about 15 years ago. Hundreds of fireflies. You could read a book by the light there were so many. And the kids were absolutely quiet 😉

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