The flickering of fireflies adds a dash of enchantment to summer nights, even in our cities. Unfortunately, fireflies seem to be disappearing from our urban landscape, and we don’t know why. On June 13, an interactive lecture at the Arnold Arboretum explored the mysterious lives of these insects. Led by firefly researcher Dr. Sara Lewis of Tufts University and Don Salvatore, coordinator of the Firefly Watch citizen science project at the Museum of Science, the gathering discussed recent discoveries about the fascinating world of fireflies and engaged in firefly spotting at the edge of the Arboretum meadow. The seemingly healthy colony of fireflies living there provides an ideal opportunity to monitor a successful population and record data to help scientist investigate what these “lightening bugs” need to survive.
You Can Help!
The Museum of Science has teamed up with researchers from Tufts University and Fitchburg State College to track and study these captivating insects through Firefly Watch, a citizen science project focused on obtaining important data on firefly populations to help explain their growing scarcity from the urban landscape. The partners seek volunteers to help monitor the Arboretum’s firefly population during the summer and gather important data. Volunteers will be trained to locate and identify firefly habitats, count fireflies they encounter, and record the data in the Firefly Watch database. With your help, project researchers hope to learn more about the geographic distribution of fireflies and their activity during the summer season.
For more interesting and informative events at the Arboretum, see our calendar.