Firefly spotting season is here, and the Natural History Museum of Utah is asking for the public’s help. Grand County is included in a statewide community science initiative called the Western Firefly Project to help scientists track firefly populations throughout Utah by logging sightings submitted by residents around the state.
Starting now until early July, fireflies can be spotted around marshes, springs, lakes and ponds after dark. Some people don’t believe that there are fireflies in Utah, however, there is a map (www.tinyurl.com/fireflymapUtah) where community scientists have documented sightings, from Bear Lake to St. George to Moab. You can add your sightings to this map.
Fireflies, also called lightning bugs, are beetles and both males and females light up as a way to attract mates and deter predators.
The oldest specimen collected in Utah is housed at the Natural History Museum of Utah and was collected in 1929. Fireflies are not new to Utah, but scientists have much to learn about them. They are most often found in wet habitats from May to June and start flashing after sunset at around 9:45 p.m.
To report a lightning bug sighting, or for more information, visit the Natural History Museum of Utah online at nhmu.utah.edu/fireflies and click on “Submit a sighting.”