? asked in Science & MathematicsZoology · 1 decade ago

can you explain how firefly's glow in the dark?

can you explain how firefly's glow in the dark? what are does chemical present in its body making them glow in the dark...?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    light produced by fireflies is called bioluminescene. adult lightning bugs have whitish or yellow bioluminescent organs on the underside of their abdomen. these organs are supplied with oxygen and chemical reactions occur causing sparks which is what we see.

    detailed look at the chemical reaction is below!

    chemical called luciferin and make an enzyme called luciferase. To make light, the luciferin combines with oxygen to form an inactive molecule called oxyluciferin. The luciferase speeds up the reaction, which occurs in two steps:

    The luciferin combines with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is found in all cells, to form luciferyl adenylate and pyrophosphate (PPi) on the surface of the luciferase enzyme. The luciferyl adenylate remains bound to the enzyme:

    luciferin + ATP -------------> luciferyl adenylate + PPi

    The luciferyl adenylate combines with oxygen to form oxyluciferin and adenosine monophosphate (AMP). Light is given off and the oxyluciferin and AMP are released from the enzyme's surface:

    luciferyl adenylate + O2 -------------> oxyluciferin +AMP + light

    The wavelength of light given off is between 510 and 670 nanometers (pale yellow to reddish green color). The cells that make the light also have uric acid crystals in them that help to reflect the light away from the abdomen. Finally, the oxygen is supplied to the cells through a tube in the abdomen called the abdominal trachea. It is not known whether the on-off switching of the light is controlled by nerve cells or the oxygen supply.

    The luciferin-luciferase chemical reaction has been used for years to measure the amount of ATP produced in cells and by various chemical reactions. Recently, the gene (section of DNA coding for the protein) for the luciferase enzyme has been isolated, placed in the genes of other organisms, and used to follow the synthesis and/or expression of other genes (i.e. used as a reporter gene).

    Source(s):

    field guide to insects of n. america

    http://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects%E2%80%A6

  • 1 decade ago

    The chemical is called Lucibufagins.

    The reason why they do it is listed below.

    One reason that fireflies glow is to attract a mate. Males and females of the same species will flash signals back and forth as a way of communicating. Each firefly species has its own particular pattern. For example, the fireflies of one species will fly around in the night sky and dive steeply just as the flash begins and turn upward to make a distinctive J-shaped pattern of light. Female fireflies hang out on a tree branch or in the grass while the males fly around showing off their best flashes. When a female recognizes the flash from a male of the same species, she will answer with her best flash.

    Another reason that fireflies glow is to avoid predators. Fireflies are filled with a nasty tasting chemical called lucibufagins, and after a predator gets a mouthful, it quickly learns to associate the firefly's glow with this bad taste. So not only does the flashing help attract a mate, but it also warns predators to stay away.

    Having lucibufagins is so important for survival that one species of firefly that can't make this chemical acquires it by eating other species that can make it. They do this by mimicking the flash pattern of another species and luring them in close. The unsuspecting male firefly thinks he is going to find a mate, but instead becomes a tasty treat to the tricky firefly.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Do you have any siblings? Maybe they played a stupid joke on u by putting glow-in-the-dark stickers all over your room. Thats all i can think of.

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