I had a wonderful time at SVU in Buena Vista, VA this spring. Too early for fireflies, but not too early to share the “dark side” of fireflies with students. Very happy to find strong women in science at this up-and-coming liberal arts institution!

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Photo credit: Summer Rathfon

Ever wonder why some firefly flashes are green and some yellow?

In nature, firefly flashes range from green to yellow:

firefly_flash_color

Results of our newly published study suggest that early evening-active species that signal in forested environments evolved yellow flashes because yellow shows up better against green ambient light (the “contrast hypothesis”).

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Hall, D.W., Sander, S.E., Pallansch, J.C. and Stanger‐Hall, K.F., 2016. The evolution of adult light emission color in North American fireflies. Evolution,70(9), 2033-2048.