Fireflies face extinction

The lights are about to go out

Pixels.com

Pixels.com

Isabella Harrop, Staff Writer

Those beautiful fireflies that light up the dark sky and everyone loves catching in a jar are facing extinction. Their loss of natural habitat due to the use of pesticides and artificial light has put almost 2,000 species at risk. Fireflies are a type of beetle and there are over 2,000 species of them, mostly in wetlands.

 

Artificial light can be anything from street lights, commercial signs and the sky glow. Light pollution messes with their mating process. Fireflies rely on bioluminescence, a chemical reaction inside them that make them light up, which is how they find their mate. Male fireflies light up to signal their availability and females respond by patterned flashes. The bright lights from billboards and streets are interfering with their lights. It is said that 23% of the land uses some sort of artificial lighting at night.

 

Another problem is the fact that we keep taking up all of their land. They live in wetlands and mangrove forests, which have been disappearing due to crops, building infrastructures and so on. The last issue that they have is all the pesticides that are being used. Fireflies spend most of their life as ground dwelling larvae, which is why when people spray pesticides they are also affected. Larvae like to be in leaf litter and wood debris which where most people spray their pesticides hoping to get rid of the pesky insects. The most common pesticides that kill fireflies are ones used to kill mosquitoes.

 

All of this factors into them dying off if that is to happen it could cause problems throughout the whole food web. Fireflies are a good source of food for birds and other animals who tend to feed on them. Plus, fireflies help us by preying on slugs and snails.

 

Overall, maybe you should think twice about whether or not it is really worth it to use that pesticide on your lawn or keep your lights on at night when it’s not needed.