Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Granddaughter, lightning bugs give hope of fun without electronics

Nine-year-old Molly holds a container used to catch lightning bugs.

There is hope. Hope that some young people won’t become slaves to electronic gizmos.
The electronic gizmos and apps aren’t going away. I use a few myself, but it seems like many folks, especially the young, can’t live without cell phones, Twitter, I-pads (I admit I don’t even known most of the terminology). I’ve seen youngsters sitting a dozen feet apart texting each other. And, I’ve seen women talking on their phones throughout their shopping trip at the big box stires, even the checkout line.
I was fortunate growing up. There were no cell phones and video games. The only twitter came from the birds each morning and evening. We didn’t have TV until sometime while I was in high school. Believe it or not, we listened to the Cardinals and Cubs on the radio.
We entertained ourselves. We enjoyed the outdoors. During summer months, we played outdoors until dark and after. There were lightning bugs to catch and kick the can (It was a game). On Friday night’s we went to the band concert on the courthouse square. Popcorn was a special treat available at the popcorn wagon.
Back to today.
Recently, granddaughters Molly and Kennedy came for a visit. They, like their older brother, Denver, have always seemed to enjoy the outdoors.
During the recent visit, I noticed nine-year-old Molly outside on the deck with a soft drink clup, which still had a plastic lid. I wondered why she had picked it up, but didn’t think much about it. I knew it was empty and either had been in or was headed for the trash.
As darkness approached, Molly was still outside with the container. Finally, she came into the sun room and posed a question. “What do lightning bugs eat?”
Grandpa didn’t have a good answer.
Mollly then proceeded to tell me she had caught three lightning bugs and was hunting more.
“I gave them some grass,” she explained, showing me the grass inside the cup.
The lightning bugs weren’t the only creatures captured by Molly. The next evening she added a grasshopper and a couple inch worms.
Grandpa was happy. Molly didn’t need electronics to be entertained. She entertained herself the old fashioned way.
Despite the escape of several fireflies in the house overnight, the hunt continued.
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A bit more about lightning bugs or fireflies...I caught them as a kid and still enjoy watching them on summer evenings...
Lightning bugs actually are beetles. They are  nocturnal members of the family Lampyridae.
Most fireflies or lightning bugs are winged. There are approximately 2,000 species of the insects. They live in a variety of warm climates and love moisture and humid environments.
The bugs produce their glow from light organs which are located under their abdomens. They take in oxygen and inside special cells, combine it with a substance called luciferin. It makes the light with almost no heat.
Most produce a blinking light which apparently is unique to each species. The blinking light serves several purposes. It serves as a warning signal or defense mechanism, alerting predators that the bugs have a nasty taste. But for other lightning bugs, it serves to help attract a mate.

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