Firefly Festival

Fireflies in WoodsFireflies are beetles that have the unique ability to light up through a chemical reaction termed bioluminescence, which occurs in their abdomen. Of the 2,000 different species of fireflies in the world, 19 live in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the more unique species in the Smoky Mountains is the Synchronous Firefly, which has the scientific name Photinus carolinus.

What make the Synchronous Fireflies unique is their coordinated lighting. While this lighting is intended to attract other fireflies, humans are attracted as well and several come to the Smokies in the middle of June to see the synchronized lighting show put on by the fireflies. Scientists are not completely sure why the fireflies light up the way they do, but one theory involves competition amongst the males to attract females. Nevertheless, the Great Smoky Mountains are one of only two places in the world where this natural wonder occurs.

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