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Old 20-10-2019, 03:45 PM
gary
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The magical spectacle of fireflies last night

We have an observing property on the NSW mid coast.

Last night at 7:30pm, we were headed into town to have dinner.

As I shut the gate, I was both surprised and delighted to see the
brilliant glow of a hovering firefly.

First one, then two, then dozens and soon a hundred or more.

As they flew in the dark around me, they pulsed on and off with brilliant
pure white light at a rate of about once per second.

They were like tiny white LEDs and they drifted and flew about a metre
off the ground. The overall effect resembled a Christmas tree with lots
of randomly blinking lights.

They were truly wonderful.

One landed on my hand and I was able to examine it under the illumination
of a phone. A tiny elongated beetle.

I had seen fireflies (as distinct from glow worms) outside the Jenolan Caves
on one occasion many years ago and I had witnessed green glowing ones
at the Texas Star Party in the south of Texas, but it was the first time
I had seen them on the observing property.

Perhaps not coincidentally, they tended to be above areas where
it was impossible for me to slash the grass and vegetation, so these
areas had probably remained largely undisturbed for decades.

Googling reveals that though there are over 2000 species of fireflies
globally, there are only 25 known species in Australia. They are
typically associated with North America, Mexico and Japan.

One source suggested they only swarm for about three weeks a year
during the mating cycle.

I would be curious to know if other IceInSpace members have ever
observed them whilst out observing or at other times.
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Old 20-10-2019, 03:50 PM
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There goes your dark site.
I have only ever seen two...I was observing at the old place and at first thought I was having a bad turn.
Never got to see either close up.
You are very lucky...please sent me a jar of them��
Alex
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Old 21-10-2019, 04:48 AM
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The only time I have encountered them was at a IceInSpace star party at Lockstock, funnily enough.
It was a cloudy evening and Geoff (R.I.P.) and I were sampling a bottle of absinthe that I had acquired.
We thought the “the green fairy” had come to visit us but, seeing we were sharing the same hallucination, we concluded they were fireflies....in between fits of uncontrolled giggling....
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Old 21-10-2019, 09:19 AM
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Up here on Tamborine Mountain we have both fireflies and glow worms. The fireflies come out just after sunset around September and early October.
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Old 21-10-2019, 09:34 AM
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I only remember 2 fireflies where I grew up at Hervey's Range, west of Townsville. I cruelly kept one in a jar for a few days until it died. The other I looked at with a microscope, and accidently focussed in too far and crushed it (immediate regret).

In Japan, my Wife grew up with them everywhere. The kids would catch dozens of them to put in a jar. If given a gentle rattle, one could read a newspaper from the light. Despite over 10 trips there, I've never seen one either.
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Old 22-10-2019, 03:22 PM
JohnF (John)
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W often see the in spring -- lots of these.
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Old 22-10-2019, 03:50 PM
gary
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Thank you to everyone for the reports and anecdotes.

Deano's story at the IceInspace AstroCamp is a classic!

I've been reading that apart from direct habitat loss, light from cars,
street lights and houses are seeing a global decline in their numbers.
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Old 23-10-2019, 06:58 AM
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multiweb (Marc)
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I remember seeing a lot of these in summer back home but it was always in somewhat remote area or undisturbed as you said.
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Old 30-10-2019, 04:45 PM
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I used to walk a 200m pathway to my home some years back it was close to the beach unlit and swampy the fireflys would cover many trees along the edge of the track
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Old 31-10-2019, 04:26 AM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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We are fortunate to have them appear in our backyard during the dry season in Cairns. They are mesmerising & i was quite surprised & delighted the first time I noticed them....
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Old 31-10-2019, 03:25 PM
gary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamL View Post
I used to walk a 200m pathway to my home some years back it was close to the beach unlit and swampy the fireflys would cover many trees along the edge of the track
Hi Graham,

What a fabulous way to come home!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast View Post
We are fortunate to have them appear in our backyard during the dry season in Cairns. They are mesmerising & i was quite surprised & delighted the first time I noticed them....
Hi Carlton,

How lucky is that!

Are you near the coast, or up in the tablelands?
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Old 31-10-2019, 10:48 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary View Post

Hi Carlton,

How lucky is that!

Are you near the coast, or up in the tablelands?
Near the coast, not far from the back waters of Trinity Inlet & backing onto a reserve with a tidal creek.

Cheers
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