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The Devil and Shelley Batts: Fireflies and the Goop of Satan

The Devil and Shelley BattsA peek above our garters for this to Shelley Batts over at Retrospectacle.

Ever wonder what makes a firefly glow in the dark?

On my way over to a friend’s house last night, an unusual thing happened: a firefly which was in the process of lighting up got squashed against my windshield at that exact moment. While there wasn’t much resembling an insect left, smeared across the glass was a streak of glowing green goo which continued to fluoresce for 5 or 6 seconds before fading into black. In fact, in the last few moments the guts glowed brighter than the bug did.

Which got me thinking about 2 things. One, how do fireflies bioluminesce? And two, does science use this glowing protein in a similar way as GFP (green fluorescent protein, found in some jellyfish)?

Continue reading at Retrospectacle.

Filed under: A Rollcall of Science Chicks, Biology, Blogs In Our MonkeySphere, Education, Science, Science Links

9 Responses

  1. d.vrai says:

    I was taught as a kid that one could peel off the lightning bug butts and stick them to a fingernail or other assortment of body parts. The things keep glowing for quite some time.

    disclaimer: I, uh, no longer practice such atrocities. And I only eat fruit after it has fallen from the tree. shhh, don’t tell Buddha, but I usually give the fruit tree in the back a good shake with my car.

  2. d.vrai says:

    I was afraid that picture wouldn’t post. Here’s a linksey of me selecting a few choice apples.

    D, I fixed your linik, but http://www.lawrenceroadfire.org is loading intermittently. Seems to do better without the www. Just so y’know.

    Kisses,
    Kate

  3. JanieBelle says:

    Huh. This wasn’t supposed to post until 10 (as you can see by the time stamp in the header).

    It’s not been a good week all around.

    (Y’all pretend not to notice that I broke the blog yesterday with too many widgets, OK?)

    d,

    I’m glad you don’t mutilate the fireflies any more, but you might want to take it easy getting the fruit.

    Kisses,

  4. Berlzebub says:

    1) Smell your hands after catching several fireflies. If you’re going to make yourself so visible, at night no less, it’s best to have something that will make predators think twice about eating you. (Evolution at its finest.)

    2) Find someone you don’t like, or even someone you do. Catch about two dozen fireflies. Then, put the jar containing them, with the top open, beneath that person’s bed just before they go to sleep. It’s amazing how bright those little buggers (no pun intended) are in a dark room.

    Have a good weekend, JanieBelle. A big wet upper persuasion to ya.

  5. Hi Janie! Thanks for the link and glad you too are fascinated by glowing bugs. 🙂

  6. JanieBelle says:

    Thanks, Berlzebub.

    I’m going to try not to pull my hair out this weekend. If I accomplish that and don’t kill anybody, I think I’ll call that a success this week.

    Kisses right back at ya’.

  7. JanieBelle says:

    Shelley,

    You are ever so welcome, lovely denizen of our Rollcall of Science Chicks.

    Bugs are very very cool. They do the neatest stuff.

    Well, except mosquitoes. I hate mosquitoes, but it’s not like they don’t deserve it.

    🙂

    Kisses to you, and thank you so very much for gracing our little blog here.

  8. d.vrai says:

    Thank ye, Kate for fixing my link.

  9. Always happy to help, darling.

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