Timelapse images of fireflies
February 3, 2012 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I heard a funny story about the Swedish bassist Jonas Hellborg. About 15 years ago, he was in the US, playing the jam band circuit. He was at a festival in NC, and all of a sudden he got kind of agitated and started insisting that someone had dosed him with acid. The reason? Fireflies, which, it seems, he hadn't seen before, and which he thought he was hallucinating.
posted by thelonius at 1:46 PM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

I fucking love fireflies. Thanks, fireflies. Tireflies.
posted by The otter lady at 1:49 PM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

One of the things I miss most now that I live out West are those warm, humid nights with the cicadas going crazy and the under-canopy filled with fireflies.
Many a childhood night was spent with a jar trying to catch them.
posted by madajb at 1:57 PM on February 3, 2012

How to raise fireflies.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:01 PM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Needs more Postal Service.
posted by R. Schlock at 2:13 PM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Those are rods.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:13 PM on February 3, 2012

Those are rods.

So, funny thing, i'm a big fan of fortean type stuff, and i've only recently heard of these. Oddly enough from the book John Dies at the End, and after reading that and looking them up, just the idea of them as in that book freaks me the fuck out. I've always had a squick thing about parasites, but... dear god... O_o

Fireflies on the other hand, they make me happy. It's about as close to feeling like i live on another planet when i see them in numbers. I know it's natural, but it's not really that common to see things that glow flashing lights around while flying.
posted by usagizero at 2:28 PM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, what can I say, fireflies are pretty great.
posted by fireflies at 2:35 PM on February 3, 2012

Fireflies are just so calm about everything; you can grab them out of the air, and they'll just calmly crawl to the highest point on your hand and take off again. They're at the top of the list of "bugs it's ok to touch".
posted by Pyry at 2:56 PM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not to be trite or anything, but Y NO ZOOM!?!?
posted by maryr at 3:36 PM on February 3, 2012

(Er, that does not apply to the Japanese link. That one is awezoom.)
posted by maryr at 3:39 PM on February 3, 2012

The photos of hotaru in Japanese wetlands are awesome. I heard a folk tale from Japan about hotaru, I could even imagine it taking place in this location.

Every summer, all the village children would go to the wetland near their school to see the fireflies. One day there was a flash flood that came from the wetlands and washed away the school and all the village children were lost. After that, no fireflies would ever appear in the area. The villagers caught fireflies and brought them to the area, as a memorial to their children. They tried year after year, but they could never reestablish the firefly population. The wetlands was always dark on summer eves.

Anyway, there is a similar oceanic phemonenon, hotaru ika, the firefly squid, Watasenia scintillans. They are delicious.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:54 PM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

That time lapse photograph is either fireflies or photographic evidence of a divine power impinging on our plane of existence.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:40 PM on February 3, 2012

I call e-pon on you.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:52 PM on February 3, 2012

posted by jann at 5:23 PM on February 3, 2012

Lightnin' bugs.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:29 PM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

I moved from Illinois to Texas, young, early 20s. My life a blur then, running running running, no idea even that I was running, too caught in the blur; vision gets twirled in a blur, so much so that you can't see even the blur of it somehow.

So anyways, maybe ten years later I'm in my pickup (two pickups ago now, it's June 1987) going north for 'a while', my tools in the bed of the truck, my red doberman sitting faithfully over there in the passenger seat. The blur had slowed some, slowed a little, enough to where I noticed, as I drove across northern Illinois in June at dusk, noticed what I ought to have noticed was missing the entire damn decade I was in Texas, only trips back to yankeeland in the winter months.

Fireflies. Everywhere. Up close for sure but maybe even prettier off in the distance, and they were off in the distance as far as I could see. Millions. Billions, probably, or more. The air itself seemed softened by it, the evening more than fifteen times more beautiful because of it, in fact it was way, way more than fifteen times prettier but no way I'd say that, I know you'd never believe it, you'd think I'm goofy, which I am, but still. A gorgeous night.

I pulled the truck off, got out and just sat in those silences there, and anyone driving by had no idea the beauty they drive through every damn night. We sat on the tailgate, me and Rusty, The Wonder Dog, and she'd never been out of Texas, and curious about everything anyways, she's looking around smiling, as dogs smile, that relaxed thing they do, eyes shining with happy. We sat there through til dark, listening to the radiator tick some as the engine cooled, I'm soaking in the feel of Illinois again, which had been home but never would be again but I miss that part of it very, very much.

I have seen fireflies in Texas but nowhere near as many and only in East Texas, the Piney Woods, beautiful country and good people, too, Texas and Louisiana coming together nicely. You drive those roads, you pull off and sit -- I have -- you'll see some fireflies but it's not near the same, pretty its own way of course, owls big as tubas flying in complete silence, the light of the dusk greener/grayer off those pines, different, that's all.

When I go to yankeeland in the summer, and get outside of Chicago -- and I don't always, but if I do, it's maybe my favorite part, the fireflies are. {digression} All of the dairy farms are long gone, those beautiful, huge barns now knocked down, and all of the silos gone too, tax liabilities, those gorgeous symbols of those centuries now only tax liabilities, the cows now all in dairies big as Luxembourg, okay, not quite but you get the idea. Farmer Smith, who was up every morning early, up and out at four AM with the cows, he's now snugged in with his wife at that time, farting deeply into his contented covers, thinking of the Florida vacation they're going to take once they get the govt subsidized corn in for the year, corn desperately needed so we can all get fat. Used to be that Farmer Smith could weld, fix a car or a truck or a tractor, he could grow food and cows and goats and children and a bank account, he could build a house or a barn or a childs toy, shoot and gut a deer with a rifle or a bow, now he gets his flat screen LCD from Amazon, does his hunting-gathering at the WalMart supercenter. Progress!{/digression}

But cows or not, Florida trips notwithstanding, the fireflies are still there, and I'm happy to see them. And if you (I) get deep enough into the country, you can almost pretend it's still as it was — a couple of years ago I took my nephew up Route 59 all the way up into Wisconsin, it's like driving through time, those huge barns and outbuildings, painted red or white, they're still there (though the cows aren't, but you can pretend they're already put up for the night; I did) and those huge houses painted white, set back in the trees, and fireflies EVERYWHERE, my eyes very, very happy, my heart full.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:09 PM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

The one and only thing that I miss about living on the east coast is fireflies.

I'd love to be able to import some into the Great Basin area.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:09 PM on February 3, 2012

Wired Magazine: Magical Long-Exposure Firefly Photos Go Viral, about Tsuneaki Hiramatsu's photos (the photos link in the OP). Those images are from 2008, and went viral in December 2011 when Polaroid Dreams re-blogged the images, and it went from there. I first saw the images on io9 on Feb 3rd.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:46 PM on February 24, 2012

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