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Somehow that seems appropriate to me <that fireflies fly up while lighted>, but I've been wondering if there is a scientific reason for it. It certainly makes poetic sense.

>>>>That's a behavioral thing. They're lighting up to signal each other. Easier to do that when rising above the grass than sinking into it. Nothing to do w/ density changes as they get brighter, or anything like that. >>>>

Actually it's a little more complicated than that. Each species of firefly has a particular flight path and light sequence, so potential mates know which ones to chase. Some fly up, some blink rapidly, while others fly a zig-zag (and so on). Some females even imitate the flashes of other species so they can eat the hapless love-struck males!

There is an excellent illustration of this in J.E. Lloyd "Studies of the flash communication system in Photinus firelies" Miscellaneous publications of the museum of zoology, University of Michigan 130:1-95, 1966. Jim Lloyd is at the University of Florida in Gainesville now, where there are plenty of fireflies if you know where to look.

Cheers, Dan (yes, an Entomologist)
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