Monday, June 1, 2009

Dead Insects

This actually happened to me when I was living in rural Honduras a few years ago. Since few of the homes had electricity, the fireflies were really bright but I still managed to step on one. Without the light they look like ordinary bugs. They are not flies at all but flying beetles. If, like me you thought they produced their little lamps by absorbing the suns rays by day like a miniature solar panel fuel cell, you would be dead wrong. Fireflies produce light via a chemical reaction consisting of a substrate compound combined with an enzyme and oxygen. Even their eggs and lava glow. Apparently if you see a flickering firefly it’s a male hoping to "get it on" and maybe even "stick it in". The faster the flicker the friskier the female gets! Some species of fireflies are able to synchronize their flashing so that they all flash in unison, on and off at the same time. This usually results in a huge orgy of glorious firefly sex which is probably a bit of a relief if your life only lasts 7-14 days. Note the yellow spot on the frogs head in the last panel.... a tribute to Steve Skelton's great strip 2 Cows and a Chicken.

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