shared by Melissa Donahue, Naturalist
Late May 2020
The light is fading behind the hackberry tree in the backyard. I am sitting on my back porch with a soft head on my shoulder. Whispering quietly, we are settling down for one of my favorite early summer activities with some of my favorite people. The day has been warm, but the night is pleasant and not muggy. We peer into the night with great anticipation. We, my husband and two grandchildren and I, are looking for the first firefly of the evening.
There are 136 species for fireflies in Middle Tennessee with Photinus pyralsis being the most familiar. At least 19 of these species are found in the Great Smoky Mountains. Our plan was to be camping in the Great Smoky Mountains this year. The main attraction this time of year is the synchronized fireflies near the Elkmont campground. This species, Photinus carolinus, is the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their fl…