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I ONCE WALKED AMONG THE STARS

I already forgot about this story. It must be the years.

Well, I was casually checking out some observations on iNaturalist and suddenly came across a Lampiridae. Yes, it sounds like it said lamp and it's related. A Lampiridae is an insect commonly known as a firefly, a light-emitting insect. As a child I learned his name was Ninacuru (or ninakuru, fire worm in Spanish).

A firefly is a flying insect that emits flashes of light. You can do it flying or perched.

To do so, they have special organs in their abdomen, where they produce a substance called "luciferine" (yes, from Lucifer which means "the one that shines"). This substance when combined with air oxygen gives off light beams. Interesting thing I learned with my studies is that it's a chemical reaction that doesn't emit heat. Fireflies emit these flashes to communicate, mainly to attract the couple.

Well going back to my story I was going through some observations and found a picture of a firefly.

Fireflies Family Lampyridae, ©danielblanco521, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

Something came to my memory that I had seen one before and upon reviewing it, it turned out to be a record for a place near Cloud Forest on the Kosñipata River, on the Cuzco road towards Shintuya, on the way to Manu. Major was my surprise when I found out the author of the photo was Daniel Blanco, a friend from my field biologist days (Daniel Blanco aquí ). That discovery brought back a memory. An unforgettable moment in my memory.

Was at Cloud Forest Lodge for a few days doing field studies on amphibians and reptiles. One night I mobilized to a broken place that was rarely visited. I was alone (almost always worked nights alone. As I did every night, I walked very slowly staring at the vegetation on both sides of the road and then down the pathway to the break. Suddenly, I noticed an insect on a half-height leaf, which seemed to me shiny. I approached to watch it more closely and it was a bug of a kind I hadn't seen before. I kept watching it shone again. So i decided to turn off the flashlight.

My surprise was incredible, when suddenly in the dark, flashing lights began to appear around me, one or two meters apart, at different heights, some barely above the grass, others at half height in plain sight of my eyes and others above my head. It was like a cloud of soft flashing glitters appearing and disappear swirling around me. It was an incredibly magical moment that I could later see only in cartoons.

Fireflies are really wonderful. It would be great if everyone had a chance to experience this excitement of being around them. Of his lights, of his shine. It's a magical moment that actually happens.

Hope they are still shining in Cloud Forest. At least they shine in my memory.

Photo: Daniel Blanco

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