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Student Project: Fireflies

A student notes the apparent disappearance of fireflies for a Learningsphere project.


Student by projectFirefly Fun Facts

There are fireflies on EVERY continent except Antarctica, because fireflies need warmth and moisture to live.

The main reasons why fireflies light up are to find their mate and to protect themselves from their enemies to show that they are unappetizing.

Barely anyone knows that there are more than 2000 different species of fireflies in the world. But, all of them prefer to live in hot areas. These insects adore moisture which is why they live in humid parts of Asia and North America.

The Big Dipper firefly is the most common in North America.

Female fireflies lay their eggs on the ground, which is where the larvae develop until they become adults. Underground larvae feed on slugs and worms by killing them with numbing fluid. Adults feed on nectar and pollen. But, some adult fireflies don’t eat at all.

Fireflies produce their glow by organs that are located under their abdomens. Fireflies take in oxygen and inside special cells combine it with a special substance called lucifern to produce light with just a tad of heat.

Fireflies are not actually flies. They really are beetles. We just call them flies because fireflies are bugs that look like they carry fire while flying.

Possible Reasons Why Fireflies are Disappearing

If it isn’t dark outside fireflies can’t find each other. If they can’t see each other, there is no mating. If there is no mating, there will be no more babies.

Fireflies prefer water, if we drain or pave over water we are destroying firefly habitats.

When we build houses we mess up dirt and soil. Doing that kills snails and slugs which are food for firefly larvae.

Fire ants eat firefly larvae, so that could cause less fireflies.

When we take care of our lawns we use poison and pesticides, those are INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS TO FIREFLIES!!

In Conclusion

In conclusion, I think that Fireflies are indeed disappearing. When I think back to last summer, I remember barely catching any fireflies. But, the summer before that I caught a couple dozen then set them free. So, yes, I do think these heart warming bugs that lit so many people’s lives are sadly disappearing. Here are the reasons why . . .
1) When I researched whether or not fireflies are disappearing every single website said that they are.
2) When I looked out my window last summer I realized it was lighter than it was a couple of years ago.
3) When I took a walk I realized that everyone in my neighborhood was using pesticides to take care of their yards.

Project by Lindsay
Mrs. Young’s 4th Grade Class
Feb 2008

More Stuff for Students

Additional local student projects related to outdoor lighting issues:

For additional projects ideas, see:

Globe at Night: Students will view sky charts at and send their results to

More stuff for Kids is at