Witnessing the Spectacle of Synchronous Fireflies Is ‘Like Magic’

May 26, 2024 | Source: NPR | by Pien Huang

It’s twilight on a warm May evening at the Congaree National Park in Hopkins, South Carolina. A wooden boardwalk weaves through cypress knees, and towering loblolly pines.

A viewing platform holds the lucky few that won the park lottery this year – an opportunity to see thousands of fireflies, blinking in synchrony, for a few short weeks this spring.

Hrudaya Reddy and her husband Shiva Vanamala traveled here from San Francisco, Calif. Vanamala says he recalls seeing swarms of fireflies in a forest as a child in Karnataka, India. “It sounds a little fantastical to me now – I’m not sure if that was a dream or if it really happened.”

As dusk turns to dark, the dream becomes real: Thousands of fireflies start to flash together in a rhythm. The couple say it’s beyond their expectations. “It’s like magic is happening,” Reddy says. Vendalam describes them as “shooting stars on the ground. Pretty incredible,” he says.