Backyard volunteers helping track firefly numbers

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Firefly

Firefly

Monday, September 6, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Scientists are hoping a network of backyard volunteers who spent the summer counting fireflies can help them determine if the luminous insects are in a decline.

About 700 volunteers from across the nation counted fireflies in their backyards, local parks and meadows and also noted their color and flash patterns.

The volunteers then entered their observations into an online database that's central to the Firefly Watch program sponsored by the Boston Museum of Science.

Scientists are worried by reports from the public that they are seeing fewer fireflies each summer, possibly because of habitat destruction from suburban sprawl.

About 5,100 people from 42 states and four other nations have taken part in Firefly Watch's online effort since it debuted in May 2008.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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