University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from St. Peter's School 2009

St. Peter's School
2620 N Margaret St
North St. Paul, MN 55109

Year: 2009
Teacher(s): Michele Anderson

How to Speak Lampyridaean-Make it Flashy

Mitchell M, Grace S, Bethany R, Brett G, D.J. E, Declyn W

Lampyridae -"Lightning Beetles", commonly known as Fireflies communicate through flashes of light which are emitted from their abdomen. The purpose of the flash is to communicate the availability to reproduce. The male flies at the edges of forested areas, near open meadows and flashes his light in a species specific code. The awaiting female will flash back in identical code. The male finds the female and they mate. Some females practice deceptive mimicry of flashes and lure males of a different species to them. They eat them for their protein, which helps with egg production.They also absorb a toxin which sickens predators. The students have created a display which models the flashes of certain species of lampyridae.

Tools of the Trade for Lampyridae: Cold light and Dark Adapted Eyes.

Marky R, Grace M, Anne A, Luke J, Alexis N

Lampyridae possess compound eyes that are unique. Their compound eyes consist of a facet, a lens, visual cells and pigment cells, which respond to bioluminecent colors. These eyes are connected to a nerve cord which continues to the abdomen.The elements needed for bioluminescense are luciferin, luciferase, oxygen, and ATP. They interact in cells and create a "light." The light that is produced does not contain heat, it is "cold light," more than 90% energy efficient. The students will present their research into the relationship between the Lampyridae eyes and lantern .

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