Fireflies: Illuminating Research

UConn neurobiologist Andrew Moiseff is delving into the life cycle of the firefly outside of the three to six weeks when the adults light up summer evenings. ()

A firefly’s life cycle encompasses much more than the three to six weeks when the adults light up summer evenings. UConn professor of physiology and neurobiology Andrew Moiseff and his research team are working to learn more about the larval stage of these charismatic insects by studying aspects of burrowing behavior, the structure of the eye, and perhaps learning if the larvae glow underground.

Firefly larvae spend about a year in the soil and are equipped with specific adaptations for life in a subterranean environment, in stark contrast to their familiar above-ground adult form. Since not a lot of research has been done with firefly larvae, Moiseff’s team is delving into new territory, learning about how the same animal has adapted to two distinct lifestyles.