Firefly Watch Citizen Science Project

Swirling cluster of firefly flashes © Jonathan McElvery
© Jonathan McElvery

For Project Participants 

To Submit Observations

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Project FAQ

Questions about the project? Explore our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions

Firefly Watch combines an annual summer evening ritual with scientific research. Join a network of citizen scientists around the country by observing your own backyard, and help scientists map fireflies.

Contact Us

You can always email us at

Why Watch Fireflies?

Are firefly populations growing or shrinking, and what could lead to changes in their populations? Mass Audubon has teamed up with researchers from Tufts University to track the fate of these amazing insects.

With your help, we hope to learn about the geographic distribution of fireflies and what environmental factors impact their abundance. 

Join the Project 

Photinus ignitus © Don Salvatore
Photinus ignitus © Don Salvatore

Anyone in North America can participate in Firefly Watch. All you need to do is spend at least 10 minutes once a week during firefly season observing fireflies in one location (your backyard or in a nearby field). All firefly sightings—or lack thereof—are valuable!

How to participate >

If you have participated through Museum of Science (MOS), you will need to create a new account with Mass Audubon. Any data you’ve entered on the MOS site this year is not displayed on our sighting map but will be retained.

View & Explore Data

Map of Firefly Watch observation data

View maps that show current and past firefly observation data. 

Browse Data > 

Firefly Programs & Festivals 

Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuaries offer firefly programs throughout the summer. Beyond Massachusetts, there are a variety of annual events. 

Find Programs & Events >

Resources to Learn More

Want to learn more about all kinds of fireflies including past and present research into these fascinating insects?

Check out these resources >

News & Updates

Timelapse image of fireflies in a field in Idaho © Theron Jensen

Firefly Watch

Thanks to diligent efforts by many scientists, we know quite a lot about different fireflies from all around the world. Yet for most species, we're still missing a critical piece of information—what are their long-term population trends?

More News