Shining a Light on Firefly Conservation

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February 9, 2022

Hear the word firefly or lightning bug, and what comes to mind? Warm summer nights? Flickering lights in the encroaching dark? Maybe soft grass underfoot, with children running about? Few species ignite such warm feelings of nostalgia as fireflies. 

Fireflies are cherished, but they are also declining. Anecdotal reports from around the globe describe fewer individuals being seen each year. Somewhat surprisingly, fireflies receive relatively little conservation attention. 

Xerces and our partners are working to change this. We plan to do this by advancing our understanding of firefly distributions, life histories, and extinction risks; identifying and addressing threats to their populations; recovering populations that have declined; and engaging people from all walks of life in saving and protecting these incredible insects.

Conservation assessments suggest one third of firefly species at risk

In North America, firefly monitoring studies are relatively sparse, and the conservation status of most species was unknown. To better understand fireflies in the U.S. and Canada, researchers from the Xerces Society, ABQ BioPark, and the IUCN Firefly Specialist Group evaluated the extinction risk of 128 firefly species. Released last November, their assessment found that nearly a third of North American firefly species may be at risk of extinction. Read More

NEW! Xerces shares first U.S. firefly conservation report
State, provincial, and local wildlife agencies have a particularly important role to play in coordinating firefly conservation. To that end, Xerces is excited to announce the release of a new publication to help agencies respond, State of the Fireflies of the US and Canada: Distribution, Threats, and Conservation Recommendations.

The report is the first of its kind in the U.S. and addresses key questions that agencies face to plan effective firefly conservation efforts. Although this report is written with state and provincial wildlife agencies in mind, it can be useful for anyone with an interest in firefly conservation. Read More

Watch “Fireflies: Getting to Know the Jewels of the Night”

Join Candace Fallon, Xerces Biologist, as she takes us into the world of the firefly. Learn about their life history, the threats they face, and what you can do to help these incredible insects. Watch

Fireflies The Jewels of the Night
Additional resources

Want to learn more about fireflies? Xerces offers species profiles, conservation tips, and educational resources for people from all walks of life to get involved. Read More

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Photos: Scott Clywik
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