This 3-Week Firefly Phenomenon Can ONLY Be Seen In Tennessee

posted by Jonathan - 

One of the coolest phenomena in the world happens in Tennessee every year, but if you want to witness it you're already running out of time.  That phenomenon is Synchronous Fireflies - fireflies that all light up in sync with each other.

It's a specific breed of fireflies that only lives in a handful of places in America, and the largest population resides in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee.

And it's an AWESOME sight.

It's a very special time here in @greatsmokynps. For about two weeks every June, you can witness a natural phenomenon of fireflies flashing together in unison. These synchronous fireflies are only found here and in Thailand, so if you have the chance, be sure to check them out! -- AP photo courtesy Daily Mail UK. -- #FriendsOfTheSmokies #FindYourPark #firefly #fireflies #lightningbug #synchronousfireflies #GSMNP #GreatSmoky #Elkmont #Smokies

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The synchronization is a mating ritual for the breed.  Each firefly has a unique flash pattern that allows males and females to recognize their mating partner.  The males usually flash while flying, while the females usually respond while stationary.  

The best viewing of the Synchronous Fireflies is in Elkmont Campground, and passes are given out via a lottery system months in advance.  You can sign up for a pass here.

If you don't get in on a guided tour, however, you can still often see the fireflies from the ever-popular Cades' Cove.

Synchronous Fireflies 35°65’N 83°51’W Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. Witness the amazing natural phenomenon of the synchronisation of Photinus carolinus during mating season. The tours to see them form part of the Dark Sky Preserves movement, aiming to safeguard areas from the dangers of urban light pollution. Interestingly at least 19 species of firefly call Great Smoky Mountains National Park home, but only one can synchronize their hypnotizing light. Although timings vary due to differences in soil temperature and moisture, the best time to catch this spectacle is a two-week period in late May to mid-June. Due to demand, a lottery system is operated to keep visitors limited, so apply early! 📷:@davidliittschwager #naturalspectacles #synchronousfireflies #smokymountains

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Here's the catch, though.  Adult fireflies only live for about three weeks, so you have a VERY brief period of time to witness the phenomenon, usually between Memorial Day and mid-June.  

Anybody up for a trip this weekend?

Jonathan

Jonathan

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