Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






Fireflies, those Femme Fatales

Christopher Stieha uses a myriad of tools to understand the effects of ecological interactions, such as competition and herbivory, on individuals and populations of various species. During the day, these tools are mathematical models and computer simulations. At night, they are creative writing and speculative fiction.
Long flash. Six second pause. Long flash. Two second pause. Flash. Six second pause. Long flash. Two second pause. Flash.
Darkness was settling over the meadow, punctuated by short flashes of light. Some came from the meadow, while other flashes responded from the edge of the forest. Adam and Amy sat on the blanket, watching the call and response between the fireflies. As it grew darker, the flashes of light became more numerous.
"It's beautiful how the fireflies talk to one another, how they try to find each other in the darkness," Amy said. "Saying I'm here, where are you? I'm here, come find me."
"Yeah, and each species has its own language, its own call and response," Adam replied.
"It's a quiet romance, those small flashes of light until they find one another." Amy poked at Adam. "Nothing like us."
"But he has to be careful. There's this other species that could respond, where she pretends to be interested in him. She beckons him to come closer, closer, but when he finds her, she eats him." Adam grabbed Amy and pulled her closer to him.
"Hey!" Amy squealed. "You aren't pretending just to get me close, are you?"
"No." He leaned his face in close to hers. "I'm not."
"No, you're not." Their lips touched.
Amy lay on her back, surrounded by the stars in the sky. The flashes from the fireflies had mostly stopped, but sometimes a male let out a long flash, desperate to see a response flash, desperate to find a mate. Amy reached over and put her hand on Adam's chest. She snapped off a rib bone and used it to pick a piece of meat out of her teeth.
"You girls have it right, but I don't know how you deal with that hard exoskeleton. Internal skeletons are so much easier to eat around."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, May 12th, 2016


Like many kids on warm summer nights, I would chase flashes of light and catch the fireflies in jars. I learned these flashes that made fireflies easy to find are the males and females communicating with one another, where each species has its own series of flashes. For example, the flashes described at the beginning of the story are for the species Photinus pyraliz (Case 2004 in Integrative and Comparative Biology). Later I learned that females from the genus Photuris would mimic the female flashes of other species to attract males to capture and eat. Imagine if humans had to find a partner while not being consumed.

- Christopher Stieha

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.6 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us