For me, the nostalgic draw of fireflies (which I call lightening bugs) is overwhelming. I remember waiting until dusk to see these amazing creatures take flight, tangible and twinkling, as if the night sky had come down to earth. Their bioluminescence has always captivated me. Luckily Dr. Sara Lewis, the world’s foremost firefly expert, is here to explain these very curious creatures. As larva, they are voracious eaters, and alarmingly efficient hunters. As adults, are light producing sex machines. In the pupae stage, they kind of just hang around. We analyse their life cycle in detail, and in the process we discuss Earthworm Smoothies, Umwelt, and Post Copulatory Sexual Selection.
*From her bio*
After graduating from Radcliffe College, evolutionary ecologist Sara Lewis earned her PhD at Duke University. She is a Professor of Biology at Tufts University, where she studies the luminous sex lives of fireflies. Author of numerous scientific articles, her research has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, USA Today, and Wired, and in the National Geographic film, The Science of Summer.
BONUS EPISODE! Sara dares to discuss the very scary Femme Fatale of the firefly world: Photuris, AKA The Vampire Firefly.
Sara’s Ted Talk