#5268 – Firefly
2018 50c Bioluminescent Life
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate- Forever
Issued: February 22, 2018
First Day City: Fort Pierce, FL
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 40,000,000 stamps
On warm summer evenings as day turns to night, we can see bioluminescence at work in our own back yards as fireflies light up the dark.
Part of the beetle family, fireflies are found in mild and tropical climates. There are about 2,000 species of fireflies around the world. Sometimes called lightning bugs, they prefer wet, wooded areas where their larvae will find lots of food. While most species of fireflies are nocturnal (active at night) and produce a glow, there are some species that are diurnal (active during the day) and do not glow or produce a very faint glow.
Fireflies emit light from their lower abdomens that may be yellow, green, or pale red. Firefly larvae also glow and are sometimes called glowworms. The larvae likely glow to ward off predators, while the adults glow as part of their mating process. They produce steady glows and flashes to communicate with potential mates. In some areas, groups of fireflies synchronize their flashes, creating elaborate light shows.
There are also some fireflies that use their glow for deception. Female Photuris fireflies copy the flashes of other species to attract and then eat their males. Because of this, they are sometimes called femme fatale fireflies. Whether for mating or deception, fireflies offer one of the few bioluminescent light displays that we can easily see on land.