Synchronous fireflies: In a dark forest, tiny creatures flash in unison and light up the night

June 20, 2018
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Peggy Butler, organizer of the Pennsylvania Firefly Festival, looks at a couple of fireflies in a jar during an evening hike overlooking the Tionesta Creek in Kettleville, Pennsylvania. For a few weeks each year, synchronous fireflies can be seen in the area flashing their lights in unison. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It’s not unusual to see fireflies flashing in backyards here and there this time of year. But deep in a Pennsylvania forest, synchronous fireflies blink in unison in a rhythmic display that lights up the night.

In this episode of the Associated Press travel podcast “Get Outta Here,” AP Travel editor Beth Harpaz invites her colleague Ted Anthony to describe his visit to the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, where he observed this magical phenomenon. Anthony, who is AP’s director of digital innovation, explains what is and isn’t known about why the fireflies engage in this behavior, and also offers advice on planning a trip to see them.


New episodes of “Get Outta Here!” are published every Wednesday. Host Beth J. Harpaz is travel editor for The Associated Press, a volunteer Big Apple Greeter and a licensed tour guide in her native New York City. She recently completed a quest to visit all 50 states.

Before becoming travel editor, where most of the news -- thank goodness -- is about happy people going on nice vacations, Beth covered politics, disasters and all manner of mayhem for the AP. And not to reveal her age, but she also worked for several newspapers way back in the 20th century and even wrote three books.

She does not own wheeled luggage but instead carries her belongings around the world in an ancient backpack and various tote bags.


For more trip ideas, travel trends and destination news from Beth and the rest of The Associated Press, follow @AP_Travel on Twitter and check out the travel tab on the APNews mobile app.

For a full list of podcasts, go to the AP podcast page on APNews.com or subscribe on iTunes at http://apple.co/2s2ruHY or Stitcher at https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/associated-press/get-outta-here-the-ap-travel-podcast

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