Yes, Colorado has fireflies. And scientists want to learn more.
It's a dose of summer magic: Fireflies wafting in a darkening sky, flashing yellow and inspiring wonder.
- This is a common sight in the eastern U.S. But fireflies live in Colorado, too.
What's happening: In the state's moist spots, such as wetlands and bogs, fireflies do their electric mating dance each June and July. And this wet year is making them more visible.
- "A lot of native Coloradans have never seen a firefly, don't even know they exist out here," Beth Kittrell, a volunteer for Fort Collins Natural Areas, told the Colorado Sun. The organization offers popular "Light Up the Night" tours each summer.
The intrigue: Scientists don't know how many fireflies live here, or much about their lifestyles.
- Butterfly Pavilion researchers just celebrated the first captivity breeding in the state.
- "At heart, I am fascinated by these creatures and want to understand them," says Orit Peleg, an associate professor at the University of Colorado's BioFrontiers Institute. "They are so beautiful and captivating."
Be smart: Lightning bugs, as they're often called, are actually beetles and not flies.
How to help: You can join in the research. Record your sightings through the Colorado Firefly Watch.
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