Welcome to Firefly Watch project


The Museum has teamed up with researchers from Tufts University and Fitchburg State College to track the fate of these amazing insects. With your help, we hope to learn about the geographic distribution of fireflies and their activity during the summer season. Fireflies also may be affected by human-made light and pesticides in lawns, so we hope to also learn more about those effects. 

Learn more about the environmental factors affecting firefly habitats.

Understanding Fireflies


Visiting a firefly meadow on a summer evening is a memorable experience, but what exactly do you see? How many different types of fireflies are among the flashing lights? Can you tell if they are male or female? Why are they flashing? What is a firefly, anyway?

Blinking beetles also known as lightning bugs, fireflies are neither bugs nor flies; they are actually beetles, which have two pairs of wings. The outer pair, called elytra, are hard and held outright during flight like the wings of an airplane. The softer inner pair beat to power and control the beetle's flight.

What do they look like? Like all insects, fireflies have six legs and three body parts. The upper part of the middle segment, the thorax, extends over a firefly's head and is called the pronutum. Since they are creatures of the night, fireflies also have large eyes. read more...



How to participate

Your habitat. After registering and logging in, you'll provide a description of your study site. Is your yard shrubby with long grass? Is your grass mowed and fertilized? You only need to fill out this sheet once during the season.

Your data. Then, you'll fill out an observation sheet each time you visit your backyard to look for fireflies. Remember, "absence" data is just as important to us as "presence" data. Even if you don't see fireflies in your backyard, we want to know. To get an idea of what to look for, visit the Virtual Habitat.

All information is taken from project webpage

Some Fireflies