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The beauty of 'lightening bugs'

Making It Grow Minute Extra logo

Our good friend and naturalist Robert Carter sent us an invitation we couldn’t resist invitation – to see the lightning bugs, AKA fireflies, in a dark area of Winthrop University’s campus. Carter and Paula Mitchell, Winthrop entomologist, had just discovered this flashing group of what they believe are varied Photuris species on the edge of a swampy habitat. These male lighting bugs did not flash synchronously or at a restricted height off the ground. Instead, it was like Christmas tree lights randomly twinkling from a few feet to thirty feet up in the trees. They started about an hour after dark and Carter told us they continue the entire night. It was a magical experience. Once you discover the natural phenomena of our diverse state ecosystems, your world gets wider and wider without leaving home.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.