Lightning Bugs in Arizona

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Outlander
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Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by Outlander » Jun 18 2011 8:08 pm

I saw about 20 lightning bugs, or fireflies, in the western Matazals last week. They are very common back East, but I rarely see them here in AZ. Have you guys run across any lightning bugs during your hikes?

The Mazzy bugs put on a nice little show for about five minutes, just before dark. I am not sure what species of lightning bugs they were, but the color of light was a red-orange glow, unlike the lightning bugs in Indiana, that emit a green light. They can be found in the lower section of Sheep Creek, near the trail to Copper Camp. Water flows from several springs in the area that create a riparian habitat/overgrown jungle, replete with fish, birds, bears....and lightning bugs.

Do we natives of the great state of Arizona call them 'fireflies', or do we call them 'lightning bugs'??? Both are pretty cool names; I am partial to 'lighting bug'.

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te_wa
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by te_wa » Jun 18 2011 9:18 pm

living in Ohio we called them fireflies. I saw a few in VA last week but dont recall seeing any in AZ, in 32 years. Kinda cool, if you ask me. :D
:D

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Tough_Boots
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by Tough_Boots » Jun 18 2011 9:21 pm

We called them "lightning bugs" in Georgia. They have probably shown up because they heard how much the Mazzies rule! :D
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te_wa
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by te_wa » Jun 18 2011 9:32 pm

at the Sheep Creek/Copper Camp trail junction: http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=178745 we made camp just north of the old corral. it's a cool place and great for fall/spring camping. do you have photos?
:D

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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jun 18 2011 9:57 pm

http://fireflyforest.net/firefly/faq/
Q: Are there fireflies in Arizona?
A: Yes, there are about two dozen species of firefly here in Arizona. Two of these species can be seen flashing at night here in Tucson, Photinus knulli and Bicellonycha wickershamorum. For a wealth of information on bioluminescent and related beetles (Families Lampyridae, Lycidae, Phengodidae, and Drilidae), including photographs like those linked above, check out the extensive literature database by entomologist Joseph Cicero, PhD as well as his animated tutorial on flightless (larviform) fireflies
There are some really sneaky Arizona scorpions that will hang from mesquite trees and shine a flashlight on their stinger to trick you into catching them with your hands. Then they joke about you with their scorpion buds. Now that you have been warned, don't fall for their tricks.
:sl:
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 19 2011 4:37 pm

I think there must be some in Aravaipa in summer because I have a friend who says she goes there in July to see them. No first-hand experience myself.
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rwstorm
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by rwstorm » Jun 19 2011 4:47 pm

I used to like to go down to Pena Blanca Lake in August to watch them (and get nailed by chiggers, which was the part I didn't like). Once, during an especially wet monsoon season, I saw one in my backyard in Tucson. I'm not talking about click beetle larvae on the the ground, I'm talking about flying flashers. :)
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te_wa
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by te_wa » Jun 19 2011 5:39 pm

Al_HikesAZ wrote:There are some really sneaky Arizona scorpions that will hang from mesquite trees and shine a flashlight on their stinger to trick you into catching them with your hands. Then they joke about you with their scorpion buds. Now that you have been warned, don't fall for their tricks.
sounds like somebody is celebrating his pre-father's day with a friend named Herradura.. lollz
:D

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skatchkins
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by skatchkins » Jun 19 2011 6:32 pm

I've seen them while camped above the dam on Fossil Creek
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by joebartels » Jun 19 2011 7:21 pm

Like me if you caught 'em in a jar as a kid :y:
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Outlander
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by Outlander » Jun 19 2011 11:51 pm

te-wa wrote:at the Sheep Creek/Copper Camp trail junction: http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=178745 we made camp just north of the old corral. it's a cool place and great for fall/spring camping. do you have photos?
I liked it, too. Not many folks have been out there. The water at the bottom of Copper Camp Creek flows year-round and is great for drinking. It was also rather warm, almost like a hot spring.


If you are into seeing wildlife, summer spring hopping is the way to go. Limited water availability and the oppressive Heat brings the critters in from miles around; they are much more dispersed in the winter and spring.

There is a coatimundi about two miles up river from the crossing at the Copper Camp Trail. He lives in an area with huge boulders strewn about, giving him many places to hide from predators. Coatis do not run very fast, much like raccoons.

I posted up a couple of photos and a gps route, though the pics are nothing spectacular. I basically walked down the South Fork from Mormon Grove TH, then walked back up Sheep Creek, taking Sheep Creek Trail to get back over the hump. It took two days.

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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by Dschur » Jun 20 2011 9:03 am

There are lots of glow worms in the summer time just at sunset too... We see them all the time in Payson... they are little inch worms (1/2 inch) that butt end glows...
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by skatchkins » Jun 20 2011 10:14 am

Dschur wrote:There are lots of glow worms in the summer time just at sunset too... We see them all the time in Payson... they are little inch worms (1/2 inch) that butt end glows...
As a kid I used to have recurring dreams about glow worms. I'd see one and then try to pick it up but it kept burrowing deeper and deeper as I dug after it trying to keep up. I didn't find out until much later that a couple of the glow in the dark stars I had on my childhood room's ceiling had fallen and had stuck to the mattress underneath the sheets causing the half-sleep dream illusion.
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by pringlecan » Jun 25 2011 2:24 am

Dschur wrote:There are lots of glow worms in the summer time just at sunset too... We see them all the time in Payson... they are little inch worms (1/2 inch) that butt end glows...
I saw these on a sunset hike in the santa ritas before the closure and thought they were dying fireflies. I had no idea such a thing existed.

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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by cmahar » Jun 10 2013 8:38 pm

We just saw fireflies while camping above the dam at Fossil Creek. Saw more than a dozen of them in the two hours after sunset. Amazing. I've never seen fireflies in Arizona and thought it was too dry for them here, but right down in the riparian area near the creek, sure enough, there they were. I tried taking video, not sure how well it came out.

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beterarcher
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by beterarcher » Jun 10 2013 9:31 pm

Too cool, I've only seen glow worms here near Prescott. Please post the video. :)
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by Cheerycow » Jun 11 2013 12:07 pm

After seeing some outside of Arivaca one evening in the mid 90's I called the U of AZ and spoke to someone in the entomology dept. He said that yes, they are sometimes seen but they are quite rare and that it was a "lucky thing' to have seen them.
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MDRCASPER
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by MDRCASPER » Jul 31 2017 6:15 pm

My family and I spent a long weekend in Gardner Canyon and was witness to fire flies. I couldn't believe my own eyes. I have never in my life seen these in southern Arizona but I am telling you they do exists. We tried to catch one for a photo op but they were always out of reach.

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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by Grasshopper » Jul 31 2017 8:27 pm

@MDRCASPER
Here are some posted on site from July'16--> https://hikearizona.com/dexcoder.php?PID=1666952
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Re: Lightning Bugs in Arizona

Post by chulavista » Aug 01 2017 11:52 am

LOL!! How funny, my husband and I were just having a conversation about fire flies a couple of days ago. Yes, they do exist in southern AZ in several places. Especially when it's wet. We used to live along highway 77 just south of Winkelman - elevation around 2100'. We had fire flies there one summer when it was a particularly wet monsoon season. Not the first time we had seen them, but it was the first time we had seen them there. Also saw them along deer creek which feeds into the Gila in the Mescals.
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