Tuesday, August 2, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Fireworks and Fireflies

{Chapter 50: pg. 190-193}

The family goes to the village common for the 4th of July band celebration and treats. Upon arriving home that night, they see fireflies everywhere. Emma obtains some glass jars for them to collect the insects. Then, from town, they can see the fireworks display.
Firefly---Photuris pennsylvanicus
A bug jar can be used and reused all summer. Today's child can use a jar of unbreakable plastic.

* * * * *

What did your family do this past 4th of July?
When was the last time you saw fireflies?
Have your children seen fireflies?
Have you ever given bed and breakfast to a bug?
Do you know which state claims the firefly as its state insect? (Answer found at bottom)
Do you call them firefly or lightning bug?
Is there a decrease of fireflies in your area of the country and, if so, what do you think has caused it? Pollution maybe? Have your child do some research.

* * * * * *
Personal ramblings:
My daughter found a teeny, tiny frog the other day as we were leaving our neighbor's driveway. Smaller than a coin. She just had to have him. So I caught him and put him in her plastic bug keeper with grass and set off, determined to capture a fly for his supper. Later that night she told me---weepingly--- that he needed to get out of his confines for a minute to exercise. Naturally, the frog disappeared. I believe the broom picked him up.
The next day she found a rolly-polly outside. It is crawling aimlessly, happily around her bug keeper.

* * * * *
I asked naturalist Macbeth Derham if the name Pennsylvania had any relation to the Latin name for firefly!

Macbeth's Reply:

"Actually, the species _pennsylvanicus_ in the Pennsylvania firefly's scientific name refers to the place where it was catalogued and named. It's funny, because my first fireflies were also in PA! The word itself means Penn's Woods...named for the land grant given to William Penn during the colonial era. The Genus, _Photuris_, is Greek in origin, not Latin, and means lighted. The Photuris female is notorious for imitating the females of other firefly species and eating the males who come to check her out."

Question: Do you know which state claims the firefly as its state insect?
Answer: Pennsylvania

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