I saw two fireflies while walking around Brooklyn last night and have to say I was fascinated. My neck was craning in ways that probably made me look silly to everyone else around. The New York Times posted a pretty interesting article + video on Firefly mating today.
Apparently, female fireflies generally prefer males with most conspicuous flashes. Drawing further upon this idea, they found that Photurus (a predatory firefly that eats other fireflies) was more likely to notice the males with the brightest flashes as well. So these bold male fireflies are rewarded for their bravado with the possibility of love making or a decoy bug that “pounces, bites, sucks blood — all the gory stuff.”
In short, the conspicuous flashing simply draws the attention of a Photurus who uses its light to respond in what would be the female version of the affirmative. Death or love awaits the male who takes the chance. For some reason, I found this all very relevant.
On a lighter note, what are your experiences with fireflies? I want to see more.