I managed to take photos of some fantastic creatures and plants last week at Blue Lake, but a few eluded me. One of them, a giant toad Todd found. The other, Fireflies! Well, really it was one firefly two times (might have been the same one). None of us have ever seen a firefly - ever. It sat on Todd's hand (small creatures trust him, it's very sweet) and lit up so brightly before flying off, flickering into the night. I felt a bit awestruck witnessing this miracle of nature. Seeing them again with Eve and Luke is officially on my life wishlist.
Some interesting facts about fireflies
Fireflies love forested areas where there are plenty of ponds and long grass. They prefer wet and humid climates and can be found on every continent in the world (except Antarctica). Fireflies communicate with their flicks of light, an emission that is 100% light with no heat/energy emission making them the most efficient light source in the world. Amazingly, the two chemicals found in a firefly's tail, luciferase and luciferin, light up in the presence of ATP. Every animal has ATP in its cells. If the chemicals from fireflies are injected into diseased cells, they can detect changes in cells that can be used to study many diseases, from cancer to muscular dystrophy. Electronic detectors built with these chemicals have even been fitted into spacecrafts to detect life in outer space, as well as food spoilage and bacterial contamination on earth! (source)
Sadly, firefly populations are on a rapid decline. Scientists believe this is due to a combination of development of natural habitats, pesticide use and light pollution. So make an effort to watch for these fantastic creatures in quiet summertime places while you can. It will be a great loss to the world if one day they cease to exist.