Some fireflies have a dark side

From Deep Look:

Females of one firefly group, the genus Photuris, have learned to copy other fireflies’ flashes to attract the males of those species. When one arrives, she pounces, first sucking his blood, then devouring his insides...

Firefly light is biochemical. But fireflies like the Big Dippers do much more with chemistry than just make light. They can mix together an array of other compounds, including invisible pheromones for mating, and others called lucibufagins (“loosa-BOOF-ajins”) that ward off predators like spiders and birds.

At some point, the Photuris “femme fatale” fireflies lost the ability to make their own lucibufagins. So instead of chemistry, these bigger, stronger fireflies became adept at imitation, and evolved to turn into insect vampires to take these valuable compounds from other fireflies to boost their own defenses.

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A game where you catch lightning bugs until the sun comes up

Lightning bugs are a sort of magic when you're young, the kind that feels like it escaped from the halls of Hogwarts and somehow reclassified itself as science under the cover of darkness. It's the sort of memory that tends to stay vivid: the moment when you cupped a firefly inside your hands and watched its light seep out between the cracks in your fingers like greenish-yellow fire.

In the game Imaginal, you decide to relive one of those memories with a friend by walking through the woods and catching fireflies together after dark, like you used to do as kids. "It'll be super chill," they promise. "We can just hang out, catch some bugs and have a chat." And that's exactly what you do.

Armed with a glass jar, you can only capture the bugs while they're illuminated, and if you happen to snag a special blue lightning bug you'll share an insight or an idle thought with your friend—or maybe they'll one with you.

Don't bother racing around to each firefly the moment it lights up; it'll almost certainly be too late by the time you reach it, and you'll earn yourself a lot of frustration, but few bugs. Instead, relax: try following one firefly at a time as they bob back and forth in the shadows, and wait for its light to turn on. This isn't Cookie Clicker, it's a gentle, meditative game about spending time with a friend, and one that's particularly pleasant to play before bed. Read the rest

Time-lapse fireflies

Vincent Brady shot these scenes of swarming fireflies at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, and at his home in Michigan: "I used every trick I have up my sleeve to pull this off. Image stacking, 360 degree startrail panoramas, and even a macro love scene! Hold on to your seats these fireflies fly by pretty quick!"

There's a fantastic gallery of stills, too. And that perfect musical accompaniment is by Brandon McCoy. [Video Link. Via Colossal] Read the rest