Summer might bring sweltering conditions to Manhattan, but in Upstate New York, it brings a fairytale to life. Once a year, the winged beetle commonly known as a firefly or lightning bugs, put on a show to remember using chemical bioluminescence during twilight to attract sexual mates or prey.


In firefly mating rituals, the males cruise by, flying around and flashing their signals to let the ladies know that they are looking for love. Meanwhile, female fireflies wait in the leaves, observing the males’ flashes. Each waits for a specific pattern of blinking light sequences are unique to each species. When they spot a pattern that they like, they flash the same signal back at the male as an invitation to come on over. Seeing the fairytale fireflies of New York in action is essentially the most beautiful thing you’ll ever experience…


Every summer, New York-based photographer Pete Mauney eagerly awaits for the three-week long light show. While fireflies are typically found in tropical climates, they also like marshy wooded areas such as the Hudson River Valley where their larvae have abundant sources of food. Using long exposure, Pete captures the scene at his home which transforms into a real-life enchanted forest.






You can buy prints of his photographs here and follow his blog, here.

(Via Featured Shoot)

1 Comment

  1. What an interesting and beautiful phenomenon – and so well captured by the camera!

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