DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jun 9 2016

Firefly Season

by Joseph M

firefliesOne of my favorite things about this time of year is seeing the twinkling of fireflies in the evenings. I’ve been fascinated by these bioluminescent insects ever since childhood and never tire of watching them while out walking on balmy summer nights.

In addition to enjoying their brilliant displays, I’ve long found it interesting that they are known as both fireflies and lightning bugs. I mostly call them fireflies but occasionally say lightning bugs as well, and apparently I’m in good company. This article from 2013 discusses a study wherein over 10,000 Americans were polled about their preferred term. 39.8% of respondents use both names interchangeably, while 30.4% use just firefly and 29.1% use just lightning bug. There is even a map included so you can see how the results vary by region.

Whatever you call them, you can read more about these intriguing creatures by perusing DCPL’s books on the topic.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Camille June 14, 2016 at 10:27 AM

Nice post. In Trinidad we called them candle flies, and other kids jokingly called them mosquitoes with flash lights. Here in the U.S. I find myself saying firefly more than I do lightning bug.

SH July 2, 2016 at 7:34 AM

I use both terms, but somehow “firefly” seems a bit more magical–like it would be the perfect companion to a fairy lurking nearby under the magnolia or crepe myrtle leaves.

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