By Michael Casey, Associated Press
From backyards in Tennessee to riverbanks in Southeast Asia, researchers said they have seen fireflies — also called glowworms or lightning bugs — dwindling in number.
No single factor is blamed, but researchers in the United States and Europe mostly cite urban sprawl and industrial pollution that destroy insect habitat. The spread of artificial lights also could be a culprit, disrupting the intricate mating behavior that depends on a male winning over a female with its flashing backside.
"It is quite clear they are declining," said Stefan Ineichen, a researcher who studies fireflies in Switzerland and runs a website to gather information on firefly sightings.
"When you talk to old people about fireflies, it is always the same," he said. "They saw so many when they were young and now they are lucky now if they see one."