Synchronous fireflies discovered on Grandfather Mountain; park staff planning future viewing events


Photo by Jim Magruder

LINVILLE, N.C. (WJHL)- A special type of firefly that is found inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has also been discovered on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

An entomologist from N.C. State University, Dr. Clyde Sorenson, saw several hundred of these types of fireflies as he spent the night in the park’s guest cottage near the Woods Walk & Picnic Area.

Dr. Sorenson was able to confirm his findings with East Tennessee naturalist Lynn Faust.

Courtesy: Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

In a release from the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, Sorenson is quoted as saying, “There’s only a handful of species all around the world that do this, and for a long time, this particular species, the phenomenon of seeing large numbers of them synchronizing has been associated tightly with just a couple geographical areas,” he said. “But the species goes all the way from New York to Georgia. Where they have been most widely known and recognized for so long is at Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But that’s at 2,200 feet. Where I saw them (at Grandfather) was at 4,200 feet.”

We’re told park staff is in the process of organizing future viewing events so people can witness the synchronous fireflies in action.

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