I selected the firefly because I find their glowing very interesting and always enjoyed catching them as a child.  The firefly is classified under Lampyridae in one of five families.  The Photurinae firefly is most common in North America.  Interestingly, not all fireflies light up although that is what they are known for.

Fireflies use their light for communication as well as defending their territory, warning off attackers, and attracting a mate.  In most firefly species, both genders glow.  The male will fly while the female remains mostly stationary in trees, grasses and shrubs.  When the female spots an attractive male, she glows to signal him.

Firefly’s tails contain two chemicals, which allow them to glow.  The tail contains luciferase and luciferin.  These two chemicals glow when under the right conditions.  ATP in the body of a firefly will convert to energy and initiate the glowing.  The chemicals found in the firefly tail can be used by doctors and researchers.  When these chemicals are injected into diseased cells, they can detect anomalies, which can help identify different diseases such as cancer.  Along with adult fireflies, the firefly egg has also been observed flashing in response to some type of stimuli in it’s environment.

Fireflies exist on all continents except for Antarctica.  They enjoy warm, humid areas and often come out during the summertime.  Because fireflies can be found all over the world, there are many different myths surrounding their glowing.   I spent a lot of time as a child trying to catch fireflies and their presence would signal the beginning of summer for me.