Georgia has more firefly species than any other state — 56 species, each having its own distinct flash. Males flash while flying; wingless females sit on vegetation and emit their own light signals, which the males cue on.
The other night, I sat on my Decatur front porch to see if any fireflies were blinking in the yard. I detected only five or six, but I was glad even for that small number.
Fireflies are declining all over the world. For several summers now, once-abundant fireflies have been scarce or absent altogether in many metro Atlanta neighborhoods.
Habitat loss due to development and pesticide misuse probably are some reasons. Also, since fireflies use light to communicate, too many bright lights at night — street lights, outdoor signs, porch lights — may confuse the insects and make it harder for them to find a mate.
In the sky: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon will be last-quarter Monday. Mercury is low in the east just before sunrise. Mars is in the south, Jupiter is low in the southwest and Saturn is in the east at nightfall.