fireflies organic wireless network

In mid July the field next to our house is full of flashing fireflies. On a foggy evening last summer my friend Kimberly walked across the field in a light mist and appeared to float across the surface surrounded in flickering light. There was a glow of moonlight illuminating the mist as well…easy to see how an older culture might have seen this as mystical. What mysteries and miracles surround us now? From one source I found this.
WHY DO FIREFLIES FLASH? Surely not just to delight us. Fireflies have been flashing for millions of years, long before we humans were around. The flashes are signals in a courtship conversation between males and females. Unlike crickets where only the male chirps, both male and female fireflies talk to each other by flashes. Their conversation is designed so that the flying male can determine whether he is talking to a female, where she is located, and most importantly, whether she is a female of his species. The stationary female also wants to identify a male of her species and attract him with her flash code, unique to her species. The code is carried in the total number of flashes, the duration of each flash, and in the time between flashes. So, studying fireflies flash behavior can we learn more about the brain of an insect that we can actually “talk to”?

John Schimmel is an inventor/ researcher who has developed a wireless network of led lights that function kind of like night lights, allowing people to signal from room to room much like fireflies do. I will write more about what this means to me in another post.


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