a recent big picture set features 25 photos from the international national geographic photo contest.
my favorite is a beautiful photo by steve irvine that shows "about one hour of firefly activity near my home in rural Ontario. The precision of the background star trails is an interesting contrast to the chaotic pattern of the firefly flashes."
his caption captures the contrasting movements in the picture perfectly.
although... i've always called those little flying creatures that periodically light up in neon yellow: lightning bugs. as far as i can tell, fireflies and lightning bugs are the same bugs, and i'm wondering just how regional these terms are.
what do you call them and where are you from? have you heard both names?
i dont remember hearing the term "fireflies" until i moved to austin, texas. even after i heard the word, it took me a while to identify the glowing creature as my lightning bug, because there arent very many flying around austin! i was used to massive hoards of the creatures, and hadnt even realized that i hadnt experienced the mesmerizing feeling of being inside a cloud lightning bugs since i moved away from home!
where i grew up in ohio, there are TONS of lightning bugs! i usually found lightning bug clouds surrounding bushes or around a grove of trees. the last place i lived before moving away from ohio was a small, square building that held 4 apartments. around the back sat a small parking lot shaded by many tall trees that grew along a small creek. the location felt quaint, welcomed the seasons well, attracted loads of pesky mosquitoes, but also harvested lightning bug fiestas!! during certain nights, i could walk around the parking lot and be completely surrounded by little, moving, disorienting, flashing lights that reached all the way up into the trees!
of course as a kid, i would catch a lightning bug in my hands, watch the neon shine thru my fingers, and wonder why i didnt have the cool ability to light up any of my body parts in such a way!
i havent experienced lightning bugs in such a way anywhere else i've been, except for a hint of the feeling on a boat trip down a river deep in malaysia.... even there, people called them fireflies!