David Murr

Fireflies

It’s the time of the year when fireflies are flashing and dancing about in the humid evening air. Accordingly, the Washington Post ran an article about fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee—a special kind that flashes synchronously, putting on a breathtaking display for a short time each year.

Ten years ago, my now-wife and I stumbled onto a synchronous display here in Virginia. It was an amazing thing to see—a wall of synchronized firefly light by some forest-lined train tracks that parallel the James River in a rural county west of Richmond. I’ve never been able to find much info on the range of Photinus carolinus, or concrete reports of Virginia observations, although the state is included in their range (although seemingly more to the west, in the mountains). But it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed, in part because it was a totally serendipitous experience.