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Utah Fireflies -- June 2013
Utah Fireflies

Utah Fireflies

Backpacking in Utah for Fireflies. Map of the Trip.

In 2010, I hiked into Coyote Gulch with a Sierra Club group and documented the presence of fireflies near Jacob Hamblin Arch. I posted photos online, and over the last three years, I've been contacted by entomologists from around the country. Finally, I set up a trip to get a firefly expert to the site with the proper collecting permits.

Liz and I took a retired professor on a grand 3-day trip down Coyote Gulch. We collected three male fireflies for science and recorded notes on their behavior (e.g., timing of the flash pattern) and habitat. Hopefully our efforts will reveal a firefly new to science. The professor, at age 70, had always wanted to go backpacking; hopefully this won't be his last trip.

Coyote Gulch

Day 1. June 19. Hiking Down

We hiked in and found an area a few miles down the canyon that looked like it would be good firefly habitat. We talked to other hikers who saw them farther down canyon and figured why hike farther than necessary. Besides, it was very hot.

We set up camp, relaxed in the shade, and ate dinner. After sunset, we set off into the darkness to find and catch our fireflies. Unfortunately, we found none.

Coyote Gulch

Day 2. June 20. Hiking Down and Finding Bugs

We continued down Coyote Gulch to Jacob Hamblin Arch where I had seen fireflies before. Unfortunately, we were overrun by two dozen Boy Scouts and moved farther down canyon. Other campers followed our example.

When darkness came this time, our efforts were rewarded and we found lots of bugs. We caught three and recorded the flight patterns of others. As we drifted off to sleep, fireflies flashed in the darkness around the tent.

Coyote Gulch

Day 3. June 21. Hiking all the Way Out

Up early and anticipating a long, hot day, we started out early. We hiked and rested, hiked and rested, and by the end of the day we climberd out to the trailhead just about sunset. Too late to drive home, we spent the night in Escalante.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 130903

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