FIREFLIES
in Ontario

Little boy wearing a hat with fireflies in a jar

At dusk on summer evenings, all over Southern Ontario, the fireflies begin their evening performance.

Where we live, if we sit quietly outside, and watch carefully, the evening show starts with just one or two flashes in the trees and long grass, as darkness spreads over the garden and meadows.

Then, slowly, more and more, and soon there are tens of thousands of green flashes of light, each one only lasting for a moment, until the air is full of these amazing creatures.

Firefly on a yellow flower

Their evening show lasts for about half an hour and as each little beetle flashes it's message to potential mates, we see this as a tiny burst of light.

The firefly is actually a flying beetle, sometimes called Lightning Bugs, a member of the order of Coleoptera which uses bioluminescence to attract the opposite sex, or its prey!

These little creatures are found in woodland, marshes and fields where there is food available for them and their young - their larvae are known as "glow-worms" as they too, emit light.

If you have never walked amongst the fire-flies as they flash their lights at the end of the day, take the opportunity some warm evening to walk where the fire-flies live, and sit quietly, and enjoy their magical lights!

It isn't difficult to understand why ancient peoples may have thought that this phenomenon was something supernatural.

There is an "other-world" quality about these ethereal lights, which daylight reveals to be a small, nondescript beetle, with nothing very special about it, but when darkness comes, the Firefly comes into his own, and gives us a show worth watching!

I like to think that during all the flashing that goes on, each little lady firefly is finding her gentleman firefly, and they perpetuate their species.

Firefly glowing on a blade of grass

A few days after mating takes place, the female lays her eggs on the surface of the ground, or just underground where the eggs will hatch three weeks to a month, later. 

The young larvae are known as Glowworms and will spend the rest of the summer feeding and growing.

Hibernation of the larvae takes place during our cold winter months, with these little creatures seeking safety under the bark of trees or burrowing underground.

After they emerge in spring they will feed for a few weeks then pupate and emerge as adult Fireflies, to continue the cycle and produce the next generation.

We hope you enjoy this short YouTube video of evening Fire Flies.

Fireflies Info ...

The Ojibway Nature Centre - Fireflies

Great information about the species found in this area of Ontario

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