Why do fireflies light up?
Total there are about 2,000 species of fireflies, and each of them has the ability to emit phosphorescent light. Most often, the body glow of these beetles - photophores - located at the end of the abdomen.
Photophores consists of 3 layers. The lower layer, the mirror is able to reflect light. Upper - represents translucent cuticle. The middle layer are photogenic cells that produce light. As can be seen, in its photophores device resembles an ordinary flashlight.
This kind of luminescence is called bioluminescence, which arises as a result of oxygen compounds of intracellular calcium, the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and the pigment in the presence of luciferin loyutsiferazy enzyme.
The light emitted by fireflies - cold. Unlike conventional electric lamps, where the bulk energy becomes useless heat and the efficiency is 5% - 10%, fireflies converted into light of 87% - 98% of consumed energy.
Glow these insects refers to the visible yellow-green part of the spectrum corresponding to wavelengths of from 500 to 600 nm.
Many species of fireflies are able to at will increase or decrease the intensity of the glow or emit light intermittently. When the nervous system of a beetle signals the "on" light in photophores oxygen begins to flow rapidly, and for the "off" enough to stop the flow. Insects do not have lungs, and oxygen is passed through special tubules - tracheoles. Supply of oxygen is in the mitochondria. For quick release required amount of oxygen, firefly body produces nitric oxide, which, acting in mitochondria, displaces oxygen from them.
for the bioluminescence of fireflies is a means of communication intersexual. Insects are not only signal their location, but also to distinguish their partner for a specific frequency flicker. Tropical and North American species of fireflies sometimes sing entire choir serenades for their partners, while flushing and fading the entire flock. A flock of females answered them the same lumiere.
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