Male fireflies ‘flash’ in unison to attract mates

July 9th, 2010 - 3:01 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, July 9 (ANI): Scientists claim that male fireflies exhibit synchronous flashing to preserve female fireflies’ recognition of suitable mates.

Fireflies produce bioluminescence as a mating tool, in which males display a species-specific pattern of flashes while “cruising” through the air, looking for females, says lead author Andrew Moiseff of the University of Connecticut.

In an experiment conducted with female fireflies and LEDs to act as male flies, the results showed that females responded more than 80 percent of the time to flashes that were in perfect unison or in near-perfect unison.

When the flashes were out of synch, the females’ response rate was 10 percent or less.

“When males are flashing in high densities, the female’s inability to focus on just one male would make it very difficult for her to detect her species-specific pattern,” Moiseff says.

“So if the males synchronize, it can maintain the fidelity of the signal in the presence of many other males.”

The results are reported in the July 9 issue of Science. (ANI)

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