One year ago tonight…

… I saw my first cicindela of the season.

As Martial wrote:

Ancillam tibi sors dedit lucernae,
Totas quae vigil exigit tenebras.

Shall I see one tonight, I wonder?

I have seen wonderful vespertilliones at the appropriate hours.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, Linking Back and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Schiavona says:

    …lucentes vespere per arva cicindelae — ita appellant rustici stellantes volatus, Graeci vero lampyridas — incredibili benignitate naturae.

    …the glow-worm, shining in the fields at night. “Cicindelæ” is the name given by the country people to these flying stars, while the Greeks call them “lampyrides,”—another manifestation of the incredible bounteousness of Nature. (Pliny the Elder around 78 AD, transl. by Bostock in 1855)

  2. Joan M says:

    According to my Google search, glow-worms, or fire flies, do not fly. So, what are the fire flies that I see in Trinidad, that do fly? They look exactly like the fire flies that are not supposed to fly, but they zip around, particularly in fruit trees. Hmm!

  3. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fireflies have wings and DO fly (we are covered up with them here as soon as it turns warm).
    Glow-worms are the non-winged larval female in some species — the most common species in Britain, which is where the term comes from.
    I’ve never seen a glowing larval female here in the Southern U.S. — they ALL seem to be flying and emitting light. I think they are Photuris fireflies, while the British species is Lampyris noctiluca.

  4. Andrew says:

    In Florida vespere arbores cicindelis abundant sed vespertiliones videre rarius fit occasio quam Missam latinam frequentare.

  5. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Yes, fireflies fly. The ones that fly in the air and blink are the males. The ones that blink from the grass and bushes are females, generally speaking. The females wait until they see a healthy blinking one they think is handsome and then they blink in return. The male then hovers nearby and they converse with blinks. If they like each other then the male lands and courting ensues. I watched the entire process on my patio one evening. It was very romantic, sigh…

    In the daytime, the fireflies that are around here are generally longish beetles with reddish wing covers with the head and rest of the body black.

    I had one in my apartment once that died and it lay on the floor for a few days, glowing more and more feebly, I guess until the ATP ran out. It takes ATP to run the enzyme to make the glow. Children can make money catching fireflies to sell to the company that sells the glowing enzyme, which is called luciferase. The substrate is called luciferin, after lucifer, meaning “light-bearer.”

    Can you tell I am a firefly fan?

    Glowworms, or railroad worms, I believe are an entirely different species.

    Haven’t seen my first firefly yet here, they usually appear about June 6th.

  6. My love and I also converse in blinks.
    But only she glows. (I wonder if we’re of different species)

  7. Schiavona says:

    Despite knowing nothing about fireflies and feeling a bit silly (Tolkien’s herb-master kind of silly) for posting this, I can’t resist sharing my “discovery” that in a world before electricity, the word cicindela became the name of a lamp, and that there was even an office of cicindelarius.

  8. benedetta says:

    Haven’t witnessed that yet this spring but these guys are already out in force:

    pseudacris crucifer

  9. Dr. Eric says:

    Have you seen the fire fly larvae? They look like the thing that Khan put in Chekov’s ear in “The Wrath of Khan”!

  10. The Cobbler says:

    “Take me where I cannot stand…”

    My brothers and I always preferred catching these things in our hands, rather than the jar approach most boys favor. Didn’t last as long, but was more interesting and challenging, and didn’t kill the poor things.

  11. EWTN Rocks says:

    acricketchirps, you said “My love and I also converse in blinks. But only she glows.” Lovely, sounds poetic.

  12. Joan M says:

    AnAmericanMother and Banjo pickin girl Thank you both very much!

    About 2 weeks ago we had an electrical outage (blackout) that started just before our very short twilight and lasted about an hour. When night fell (with it’s usual thud), my husband and I sat on our porch admiring all the fire flies flitting about among the trees. There must have been dozens of them, all darting here and there, through the branches of the mango trees (one in our yard and another in another yard, as well as the pomerac tree next door. They really helped set the mood!

  13. irishgirl says:

    I used to sit up in bed on nights when I couldn’t sleep and look out of the window, where I would see the fireflies flying around and blinking. Pretty cool!
    acricketchirps-yes, you are very poetic!

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    Your description makes me miss the Caribbean! When I was a child my family travelled up and down the Leewards and Windwards, some of my happiest childhood memories are from those wanderings. I could see the scene in my mind’s eye!

Comments are closed.