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How Do Fireflies Glow

How Do Fireflies Glow

When you were a child you must have caught the firefly with your hand, and seeing it glowing, you must have been surprised how it produces light. More interestingly, there are more than 2,000 species of light-generating firefly, known as bioluminescence.

Fireflies or fireworm contain specialized cells in their bellies that generate light. Fireflies absorb oxygen from special cells called luciferin and combine it with a substance to generate light and heat. Each type of fireworm flashes light in a unique and special pattern that allows other fireflies to identify their peers as potential partners. Fireflies, which have lost their ability to generate light, use scent to find partners.

In fireflies, the chemical reaction that makes them glow depends on an enzyme called luciferase. Fireflies also control the production of light by regulating the supply of oxygen. If there is oxygen in the organ of light, the light goes on, and if there is no oxygen, the flame of fire goes out.

Light bulbs produce a lot of heat in addition to light, but a light bulb is cold light, so much energy is lost in the heat. The bioluminescence of fireflies is 100% efficient, which means that very little energy (<2%) is wasted to produce their light.

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