July 26, 2009

Scientists: Firefly numbers on the decline

The number of fireflies lighting up the night throughout the United States appears to be declining, scientists say.

Firefly researcher Marc Branham said when compared with the appearance of fireflies from a decade or two ago, the current natural population of the insect species appears to have dropped significantly, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch said Sunday.

There certainly appear to be fewer fireflies out now as opposed to 10 or 20-some years ago, the University of Florida assistant professor of entomology said.

Scientists in Boston are trying to determine if the number of fireflies has indeed decreased nationwide. Those scientists began Firefly Watch, which currently involves residents of 36 U.S. states like Ohio tracking fireflies around their homes.

Don Salvatore, a science educator at Boston's Museum of Science, told the Dispatch the program gathers information on a number of factors from civilians to determine if any factors are related to the firefly population numbers.