Copyright © 2018 Matt Shiffler Photography

Watching fireflies, deep in the heart of the Allegheny forest


Pictured here is 15 minutes of activity from the Chinese Lantern species and each tiny yellow dot represents a firefly’s flight. Compared to the regular firefly, their flash pattern is slow and deliberate, and stay lit longer than other species.

Tionesta, PA–Every year in the woods and along the river banks of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny forest, thousands of fireflies put on a light show for curious spectators, with over 15 firefly species in the area. Many of these species are unusual and unique to Tionesta with the most popular being the synchronous firefly and the Chinese Lantern varieties.

In 2012, a team of scientists confirmed the presence of the Synchronous Firefly in Allegheny, an incredibly rare species that link up their lights at the same time to attract a mate. Thousands of them will flick on their glowing lights simultaneously and gradually they go black, leaving the forest in pitch darkness again.

The only other known habitat for these fireflies is Great Smoky Mountain National Park where it has become so popular they have a lottery drawing to determine who can attend.

Not only does Allegheny National Forest have the synchronous, they also have 15 other species including the famous “Chinese Lantern” variety which emits a long and slow glow which is mesmerizing at times.

It was special to see this phenomenon of nature and was glad I was able to do it with some other Cleveland photographer friends. If you go, be sure to say hi to the Butler family who run firefly tours and the lodging at the Black Caddis Ranch and were some of the kindest hosts you’d meet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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