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November 3, 2006

Courtship dances

Every spring we witness the courtship dance of the South African human male, the rugby Currie Cup final. By 6pm, the game is over, the dominant males have been identified and dark begins to fall. At about the same time, around our house and in the adjacent Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, the fireflies start their courtship show.
Both males and females flash their beacons and cavort around in the dark.
This happens every night, except in rain, for about 3 weeks, from about 7pm till pm when the electric lights stop flashing and the lovers can’t be seen.
Their party is a spectacular affair and without the stimulation of wine or other aid, they get a whole new generation going.
We await their return at the end of the next rugby season.
As usual, I tried to take a picture to illustrate this post.
However, the job difficulty exceeded my ability with the camera.
A firefly is about 1mm long and about .3mm wide. The lamp that emits the flashes under the abdomen is perhaps .2mm square. You can see the light for 10 or 20 metres but it doesn’t make any impact on the digital receptor, especially as the firefly doesn’t stay still for you to get some time exposure.


Posted by graham knox at November 3, 2006 10:20 AM

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