One of my most distinct memories from growing up in Missouri is chasing (and catching) fireflies. I called them "lightning bugs" because I didn't know any better. There are reports that these fascinating creatures are slowly but surely disappearing and it appears that it's our own fault.

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I first saw this topic brought up by an article on Patch talking about how Illinois isn't seeing fireflies as much anymore. It's derived from some data from World Population Review and the firefly situation in Missouri is even worse.

Here's part of a graphic they shared that shows the number of firefly sightings over the past 4 years. Notice that Missouri is in the area which is "average" but decreasing.

Infographic, World Population Review
Infographic, World Population Review

This is no 5-alarm emergency at this point, but I've heard people anecdotally say that they don't see fireflies as much anymore. The fact that data now supports these stories is interesting.

Why are fireflies disappearing? estimates that fireflies seem to not be where light is which makes sense when you think about it. In other words, our own increasing light pollution may be the cause of the disappearing firefly phenomenon.

If that proves to be accurate, how sad is it that we've subconsciously chosen to favor artificial light over that provided by the critters in nature? That feels like a part of my childhood is somehow dying. The good news is the memories of chasing them as a kid in Missouri never will.

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