Firefly watch!

A firefly at night (photo: “Emmanuelm”)

The Museum of Science, Boston has an interesting citizen science project running – their Firefly Watch. Anybody can register and add observations of fireflies in their local area.

The project has been running since 2008, and has accumulated over 30,000 observations so far (mostly from the US – see map above), which are available online. The graph below shows the result of fitting a family of Gaussian “bell curves” to the data. Observed firefly numbers peaked around June 23 each year (day 174 when it’s not a leap year), with a slight increase in the height of the peak over time. There seems to be no significant change to the timing of the peak.

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