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Fireflies, symbol of summer, now endangered

Aug 07, 2023 12:11 pm

H. Rose Schneider reports in the Times Union that North American fireflies are at risk of extinction, according to invertebrate conservation group the Xerces Society, as they fight habitat loss, pesticide, climate change, and light pollution. Sara Lewis, professor emerita of biology at Tufts University and author of "Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies," said, "Every single person who pays attention notices there are fewer fireflies than there used to be." There have been about 30 different firefly species in New York. But the Dot-dash firefly, with a greenish, Morse-code like signal, hasn't been spotted in the state for over two decades. Fireflies, also called lightning bugs, are not doing well in the extreme conditions of climate change, as they get washed away in floods, and can't survive in lengthy droughts. Anyone who wants to help fireflies should reduce pesticide use, turn off outdoor lights, and let leaves fall to the ground and grass grow longer. "They provide a lot of nostalgia," said Juliana Chauca, a senior at Ossining High School in Westchester County helping with a firefly count. "People remember going out seeing them when they were little on a warm summer night." Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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