University of Kentucky researcher: climate change a threat to fireflies

Republished from WEKU.

University of Kentucky researchers helped put together a new study about the dangers facing fireflies. DJ McNeil is an assistant professor of wildlife ecology and management for UK’s Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. He said it’s the first study to test those factors based on data collected by citizen-scientists.

“As best we can tell, the main factors that seem to be limiting firefly populations and would be responsible for declines would be climate and weather-related things, especially advancing temperatures, as we’re expecting to see with climate change.”

McNeil said if soil’s too dry, or too moist – or replaced by parking lots – firefly larvae don’t thrive, and that leads to population loss. He said the larvae eat invertebrates like snails and slugs that we consider pests, but there are other reasons we should care about their possible decline.

“We can lose the fireflies, the nights will be a little bit less magical, but we can persist. But the question is, ‘How many of these organisms can we lose before we start to see consequences?’”

As for their light shows, McNeil called them firefly dating scenes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bucknell University and Penn State University also contributed to the study.

North America Firefly Atlas

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.