Watch a Sea of Fireflies Gorgeously Synchronize With LED Lights

Fireflies (you might call them lightning bugs) are known for putting on one of summer’s best natural light shows, but usually their displays are more random and serene, and less orchestrated stage spectacular. That all changes with a little coaxing and a particular kind of self-illuminating insect.

In the video above, Robin Meier and Andre Gwerder captured an experiment they staged last year with synchronous fireflies in Thailand. In the country’s mangrove forests, they cajoled a sea of wild Pteroptyx malaccae to sync up with flashing, computer-controlled LED lights. Adjustments in the man-made (and operated) lights caused the light patterns produced by the fireflies to change as well—creating one breathtaking show. According to Meier’s website, “Synchronicity” was designed to be an exploration of free will and the interplay of a machine in the natural world.

You can see synchronous fireflies in person at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where, annually, the park holds events to showcase Photinus carolinus, the only synchronous firefly species in America.

[h/t @stevenstrogatz]

Banner image: iStock

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
YouTube/Great Big Story
See the Secret Paintings Hidden in Gilded Books
YouTube/Great Big Story
YouTube/Great Big Story

The art of vanishing fore-edge painting—hiding delicate images on the front edges of gilded books—dates back to about 1660. Today, British artist Martin Frost is the last remaining commercial fore-edge painter in the world. He works primarily on antique books, crafting scenes from nature, domestic life, mythology, and Harry Potter. Great Big Story recently caught up with him in his studio to learn more about his disappearing art. Learn more in the video below.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Mathew Tucciarone
Candytopia, the Interactive Art Installation Made of Sweet Treats, Is Coming to New York City
Mathew Tucciarone
Mathew Tucciarone

A colorful exhibition is sharing some eye candy—and actual candy—with visitors. The sweet art pop-up, called Candytopia, is heading to New York City this summer following successful stints in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Gothamist reports.

Candytopia feels a little like Willy Wonka’s chocolate room. More than a dozen rooms with psychedelic backdrops will be on view, as well as candy-inspired interpretations of famous artworks such as Mona Lisa and The Thinker. The installation is the brainchild of Jackie Sorkin, the star of TLC’s Candy Queen.

Many of the art installations are made from actual candy, but unlike Wonka’s lickable wallpaper, visitors will have to keep their hands and tongues to themselves. Instead, guests will be given samples of various sweet treats like gummies, chocolates, and “nostalgic favorites.”

Forbes named Candytopia one of the best pop-up museums to visit in 2018. New York City seems the perfect place for the exhibit, having formerly hosted other food-inspired pop-ups like the Museum of Pizza and the Museum of Ice Cream.

Candytopia will debut in New York City on August 15 at Penn Plaza at 145 West 32nd Street. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and they can be ordered on Candytopia’s website. Private events and birthday parties can also be arranged.

Keep scrolling to see some more installations from Candytopia.

A wing of the Candytopia exhibit
Mathew Tucciarone

An Egyptian-inspired statue made of candy
Mathew Tucciarone

A candy version of the Mona Lisa
Mathew Tucciarone

A shark statue
Mathew Tucciarone

[h/t Gothamist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios