[LMB] Milkweed and mutations

Joel Polowin jpolowin at hotmail.com
Sat Oct 12 16:55:09 BST 2019


Gretchen Wright <gretchen.m.wright at gmail.com> wrote:
>On Sat, Oct 12, 2019, 1:18 AM Gwynne Powell wrote:
>> Gwynne: I've never seen [a firefly]. I know what they are, I've read books
>> that mention them, heard songs, etc - for a long time I didn't really believe
>> they existed, but apparently they do. Most of the Aussie fauna doesn't light up.

I hadn't seen any for decades, but a couple of years ago, when my
sweetie and I went for a walk in a local green space at dusk, we saw
quite a few.  And a couple of months ago, I saw a few at dusk in my
own front yard.  This may partially reflect the terrible un-mown state
around my house... but it was very pretty.

I don't know if they've been here all along, and I just never happened
to be in the right kind of place at the right time, or if the fireflies'
range has shifted.

> Gretchen:
> ...Most.....?

Well, there's the stuff that lights up to Lure You To Your Doom.  You
may have heard of the Fly Angler, a terrestrial reptile that hunts its
prey by putting out dozens of little feelers that flicker with light
to mimic fireflies.  Mostly it catches small insectivores, but large
Fly Anglers can be dangerous to small children whose intention is to
trap a few fireflies in a jar, or who for whatever other reason try
to grab at the tiny lights.  The barbs are very painful to extract,
though the adhesive and the neurotoxin are both of considerable interest
to researchers and may be of great value in the future.

Joel


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