Ecology of Colors of Firefly Bioluminescence

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Science  31 Oct 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4469, pp. 560-562
DOI: 10.1126/science.210.4469.560


Dark-active North American fireflies emit green bioluminescence and dusk-active species emit yellow, in general. Yellow light and yellow visual spectral sensitivity may be adaptations to increase the signal-to-noise (that is, foliage-reflected ambient light) ratio for sexual signaling during twilight. The peaks of the electroretinogram visual spectral sensitivities of four species tested, two dark- and two dusk-active, correspond with the peak of their bioluminescent emissions.

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