Monday, July 2, 2012

Twinkle, twinkle, little beetle

symbolic meaning of the firefly
  An ordinary looking creature during the day, admittedly, the firefly is a remarkable sight when it glows at night. This is a symbolic message to us humans that although our physical appearance may seem one way - it is our internal makings - what is inside us (such as our spirit) that makes us shine from the inside out. That which is within us will always illuminate us and those around us.

 We were out last night in the almost cool watching the fireworks.  No not the 4th of July kind, but the insect kind.  It is so fascinating to watch those little beetles.  So I decided to go on line and get some information on them.  So the rest of the blog are bits and pieces of things I thought was interesting.  The info goes from that was neat to know, to wow I didn't know that!

 Fun and interesting facts:

Fireflies (also called lightning bugs), aren't flies or bugs - they're part of the beetle family, with soft bodies not hard like most beetles.

The Aztecs used the word "firefly" meant a spark of knowledge in a world of ignorance or darkness.

In Japanese culture, fireflies contain the souls of soldiers who have died in battle.

The Japanese used to fill lanterns with fireflies.

Ancient Mayas believed that fireflies carried the light of stars.

The Chinese believed fireflies came from burning grass.

A European legend said that someone would die if a firefly flew in the window.

Native Americans caught fireflies and and smeared them as decorations on their faces and chests.

The firefly is the state insect of Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Fireflies are used for medical and scientific research.

It has been speculated the Baroque painter Caravaggio may have prepare his canvases with a powder of dried fireflies to create photosensitive surface on which he projected the image to be painted.


Lightning Bugs and Research

The lightning bug contains two rare chemicals; luciferin and luciferase.

Medical research laboratories
throughout the world use these two chemicals in cancer research, antibiotic testing, and research for heart disease, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy.

The biochemical industry uses the luciferase enzyme. This chemical is used by forensic investigators to swab for blood traces left on surfaces at crime scenes. Blood banks use the enzyme   to test their stock to determine if the red blood cells are beginning to break down.

The space program uses lighting bug chemicals with special electronic detectors to look for earth-life forms in outer space.  Looking for UFO's hmmm fireflies look outspace like to me.


The Military is Studying Fireflies and Glowing Planton

"Someday, the secrets of fireflies or glowing sea plankton could save an American soldier in battle, a Navy SEAL on a dive or a military pilot landing after a mission.

A possible military use of bioluminescence would be creating biodegradable landing zone markers that helicopters can spot even as wind from their rotors kicks up dirt."

Bioluminescence could be used to mark objects or locations that an enemy wouldn't find using heat-seeking technology.

 The firefly's flame
Is something for which science has no name
I can think of nothing eerier
Than flying around with an unidentified glow on a person's posteerier.

- Ogden Nash
Have you checked yours lately?
 Old story from the Philippines to explain why there are fireflies
There was once a young man who was as handsome as he was vain. He had the habit of derisively pointing out the physical defects of those around him.
One day, on his way to the forest, he saw a maiden clothed in silk. He was struck by her beauty and thought that, certainly, this was the loveliest woman in the world.
Entranced, he started to come near her, but she turned and fled. He combed the forest all day searching for her, but she was nowhere to be found.
Finally, tired and irritated, he burst out aloud, “You are not really beautiful! Your nose is flat and your ears are too wide.” He then settled down against a tree and slept.

He awoke with a start later to find the woman staring down at him. He also discovered that he had been transformed into an insect. The young woman, who was a fairy, told him that he would be cursed to remain thus until he finds a maiden who could exceed her in beauty.To this day, the enchanted young man continues his search, carrying a flickering light at night to help him in his quest

This unique light is 100 percent efficient! Nearly 100 percent of lightning bug light is given off as light; in our electric lights, only 10 percent is light, 90 percent is wasted as heat. Talk about GREEN energy!
When a firefly is under stress (like being caught in spider web) its taillight glows brightly. Even the shock of a firecracker or thunder may cause a field of fireflies to flash in unison. Warmer weather will cause faster blinks between potential mates, whereas cool weather calms things down a bit and they may wait even up to five seconds between short flashes.

Research: Researchers are hopeful that studying lightning bugs and ATP (the energy conversion molecule) can lead to advances in medical technology and cures for diseases. It turns out that ATP is a molecule that plays a major role in the conversion of stored energy to usable energy found in almost all living organisms. Injections of incremental amounts of the firefly’s chemicals quickly detects energy problems in human cells; there is a different reaction between normal and cancerous cells. The firefly technique was used to study cancer, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, and many others. Because of this lightening bugs are collected for research by a company in Missouri.

The summer evening light shows are performed by male fireflies. As they fly around our backyards, the males flash patterns of light to the females, who perch on blades of grass close to the ground. The females flash back to the males with their own signals. As this flash dance continues, the male keeps moving closer to the waiting female. Once they find each other, they will mate. Each species of firefly has a different mating signal. The males will not fly down to a female that sends the wrong species signal .  This will prevent cross breeding.
The females of some species have evolved the ability to play a nasty trick. They can mimic the female response flashes of species other than their own. Using this fake flash, they can attract the male of the other species to them. As the unsuspecting male flies down to meet a friendly looking female, he is captured and eaten!

 female grub

Get out there and find the wonders of our earth!!!

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