Discover Life in America offers new way to watch cancelled firefly event

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have cancelled the synchronous firefly viewing event in a continuing effort to adhere to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

However, this doesn’t mean all hope is lost for the thousands of people who flock to the park each year to view the natural phenomenon of these beautiful synchronous fireflies. Thanks to the nonprofit Discover Life in America, you can now watch from the comfort of  your own home via a virtual viewing starting on June 1 at 8 pm on organization’s Youtube channel.

Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus aka “Lightning Bugs”) are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.

These fireflies take one to two years to mature from larvae and live as adults for only 21 days.

Synchronous fireflies are commonly known as "lightning bugs".
Synchronous fireflies are commonly known as “lightning bugs”.

Their light pattern displays are part of a mating ritual. Each species of firefly has its own characteristic flash pattern and color hue that helps males and females recognize each other. The male fireflies fly and flash to attract the normally stationary females who will in turn, respond with their own flash.

The peak time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for this these synchronous fireflies usually takes place within a two-week period in late May to early June.

Discover Life in America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Their goal is to identify, record and study each of the 60,000-80,000 species of life in the national park and share that information with scientists and the general public.

They aim to engage the public with educational programs and volunteer “citizen-science” opportunities. Check out their upcoming events calendar to learn more about this and other upcoming events.

For more information about the synchronous fireflies, please visit the park website.

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