Bats and Fireflies

#1
One of the reasons that fireflies light up is to attract mates. But the light might have another purpose too.

Bats are big predators of flying insects. But bats hate the taste of fireflies. They taste them and then immediately spit them out, shaking their little bat heads.

Researchers put several species of insects including firefles in a dark room together with bats who had never encountered fireflies before. The unexperienced bats initially went for the fireflies just like other the insects, and the response was "Eeewww, Pah!" By the fourth day, the bats learned their lesson and avoided the fireflies. But the bats continued to take the other non-noxious insects, with upwards of a 90% success rate.

So a firefly's light might be an announcement to predators: "I'm not edible! Don't even try to eat me!" (Many poisonous plants and animals are brightly colored for precisely that reason, to catch the attention and to warn off whatever might want to eat them.)

https://news.boisestate.edu/update/2018/...-they-did/

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/8/eaat6601
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#2
To ward off Vlad and Carmilla in their flying mammal guises this Halloween, it sounds like Firefly apparel and bling merchandise would be quite the thing to be wearing.

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#3
Quote:So a firefly's light might be an announcement to predators: "I'm not edible! Don't even try to eat me!"

I thought bats were blind.
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#4
MR. Wrote:I thought bats were blind.
Just another myth.
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#5
What do you guys think about the idea that light pollution may be contributing to the decline in fireflies?

Fireflies Need the Dark to Talk with Light

Quote:…Although there is a lot more to learn about the issue, growing evidence suggests that light pollution may contribute to the decline of firefly populations across the globe.

…Unfortunately, our nighttime lighting decisions seem to be affecting the ability of fireflies to communicate and reproduce.
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#6
(Oct 21, 2018 03:27 AM)Secular Sanity Wrote: What do you guys think about the idea that light pollution may be contributing to the decline in fireflies?

Fireflies Need the Dark to Talk with Light

Quote:…Although there is a lot more to learn about the issue, growing evidence suggests that light pollution may contribute to the decline of firefly populations across the globe.

…Unfortunately, our nighttime lighting decisions seem to be affecting the ability of fireflies to communicate and reproduce.


Still see plenty of them in the woods, hills, and any open fields between widely spaced homes in rural areas. But research quantifiers may not count those provincial or flyover sections as a politically relevant part of the overall insecto-sphere. Smaller towns may also remember fireflies or still occasionally encounter them. In contrast, the wary reactions of residents in sprawling metropolitan complexes may someday evolve into: "OMG! What are those glowing things flying around in the air? Are they nanobot drones? Run children, run!"

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#8
(Oct 21, 2018 08:34 PM)C C Wrote: Still see plenty of them in the woods, hills, and any open fields between widely spaced homes in rural areas.

I guess we have 18 species in California but they're in southern California. I've never seen one before.
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