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Fireflies were as ubiquitous in the summer night sky as stars. Now the insects are facing extinction, and yes, humans are to blame.

Of the nearly 2,000 species of fireflies across the world, 200 are found in the U.S. However, many of those that were once common have now disappeared. There are two main reasons why these insects are on the decline: light pollution and development. On top of that, pesticides, weed killers, and logging have also played a role in the species' disappearance.

The marshes and meadows that were once lit up by the bioluminescent bug are slowly disappearing thanks to increasing development of the environment they call home. "The problem is that in America and throughout the world, our open fields and forests are being paved over, and our waterways are seeing more development and noisy boat traffic. As their habitat disappears under housing and commercial developments, firefly numbers dwindle," according to Firefly Research and Conservation.

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The Planet

Are You Eating Bugs? Yes, You Are

Tell all your friends you've been eating down the food chain. Even if you didn't know it.

There's little doubt that consumption of cattle, pigs, chicken, and other livestock comes with considerable environmental cost. But instead of ditching meat altogether, two Dutch researchers have been on a mission to challenge taboos in the developed world by suggesting an environmentally friendly protein alternative: bugs.

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Articles

How Bees See Flowers Pollinator Porn

A new Floral Reflectance Database shows humans what plants actually look like to different pollinating insects.


A new Floral Reflectance Database created by scientists at Imperial College London and Queen Mary, University of London, shows humans what plants actually look like to different pollinating insects.

Professor Lars Chittka from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences explained to the BBC that "much of the colored world that's accessible to bees and other animals with UV receptors is entirely invisible for us. In order to see that invisible part of the world, we need this special machinery."

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Articles