Reporting Steve Miller
CHICAGO (CBS) – There’s a good chance your backyard is full of fireflies this summer, which is a big change from last year.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports this is peak season in the Chicago area for fireflies, which have rebounded because of all the rain this spring..
“It’s nice to see them back this year,” said Doug Taron, curator of biology at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. “Last year, probably because of the drought, was a really terrible year for fireflies.”
He explained immature fireflies eat pill bugs, tiny snails and other things that need moisture to survive, so fireflies are doing much better this year.
“It’s a sign of how resilient nature can be, that you can have a really nasty drought like what we had last year, and when more normal conditions return, things can bounce right back,” he said.
Taron said the firefly’s light is a signal to predators that they’re toxic.
“They are tasty little morsels, in terms of their size and shape,” Taron said. “They don’t have other defenses, so they turn to chemical warfare.”
It’s also a signal to attract a mate, unless it’s a femme fatale firefly doing the flashing, mimicking the flash of another species of firefly.
“So when the male comes down, instead of getting to get together with the female, he becomes dinner,” Taron said.
Firefly peak season goes another couple of weeks.