There’s a jarring photo in Sara Lewis’s delightful new book on fireflies, Silent Sparks. It’s not of a firefly. It’s of a cockroach. And a blister beetle, a longhorn beetle, a net-winged beetle, a moth, and a soldier beetle.
It surprised me because they all look very similar to fireflies—a couple specs of brownish orange near the head or thorax, two black antennae, and a long, black abdomen. If I saw any of them, I’d probably say, “Yikes, a bug.” I’d be as likely to squish it as to save it in Mason jar. I’d probably do the same if I saw a firefly in the middle of the day. They just look like … bugs. (Sorry, little dudes.)
It’s that dramatic difference that draws our attention each summer (and several times in this issue). That delightful, brief, green glow. For many subjects, we can find wonder and awe by shining more light and looking more closely. Fireflies remind us that sometimes we need things to get a little darker before we can truly behold, before we’re reminded of how breathtakingly beautiful the world—or a little bug—can be.
I’m sure each of those other insects is delightful in its own way. We could assign a Behemoth article on any of them and surely find awe and wonder inside. (Okay, to be honest, there’s little chance I’m going to assign an article on cockroaches, so this may be my only opportunity to tell you that a cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes underwater and survive without its head for at least a week.) But our goal at The Behemoth isn’t to explain everything about our subjects. It’s not always about bringing everything to light. Sometimes it’s just about getting us to ...
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- The Most Spectacular Firefly
We’re drawn to animals that shine their own light. For one, it’s a group effort. /
- Mysteries of a Beating Heart
We don’t really know how a heartbeat sparks to life. /
- The Eagle, the Shell, and the Sunflower
The Golden Spiral appears all over nature. /
- Bright Angels
“When I was growing up, / they were lightning bugs.” /
- Wonder on the Web
Issue 50: Links to amazing stuff.
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