Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Creatures Produces Light At Nearly 100% Efficiency?

Anglerfish
Click Beetles
Firefly Squids
Fireflies
Photo of a firefly while glowing.
Terry Priest/Flickr

Answer: Fireflies

Fireflies (also known as lightning bugs) are a small group of insect species found in the Lampyridae family. Found in temperate and tropical climates on every continent save for Antarctica, the tiny glowing creatures are not just a pleasant and whimsical element of warm weather in the climates where they are found, but an example of exceptional efficiency in nature.

The glow produced in the firefly’s body is the byproduct of a chemical reaction between the enzyme luciferase and the light-emitting compound luciferin, in the presence of magnesium ions, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and oxygen. This chemical reaction, bioluminescence, is so efficient that nearly 100 percent of the energy used in the reaction is converted to light. By contrast, a traditional incandescent light bulb is about 10 percent efficient as 90 percent of the energy is waste energy emitted as heat instead of light.

While light sources powered by the actual chemical reaction in fireflies aren’t likely in the technology cards (because of a variety of issues like storing organic chemicals for extended periods of time), that doesn’t mean that fireflies haven’t already contributed significantly to improving lighting. Scientists studying fireflies examined the structure of their bodies and found that the layer over the fireflies’ light emitting cells has a scale like pattern that helps minimize light reflecting back into the abdomen and maximizes light escaping from a firefly’s body. By designing LED diodes with a similar pattern, they were able to boost the efficiency of the LEDs by as much as 55 percent.

Trivia

Easy

Which City Temporarily Changed Its Name To Promote A Video Game?

Trivia

Hard

During World War II, Which Of The Following Items Was Heavily Censored?

Trivia

Easy

MP3, The Ubiquitous File Type, Stands For What?

Trivia

Hard

Plants Lose Water Through A Process Known As?

Trivia

Easy

Residential Communities Where People Live With Their Planes And Direct Runway Access Are Called?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Groups Was Most Influential In The Early Adoption Of Paved Roads?

Trivia

Hard

A Spider In The Amazon Jungle Is Unique In That It?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Metal Derives Its Name From German Mythology?

Trivia

Easy

Which Country Has The Highest Rate Of Cremation?

Trivia

Hard

What Star Trek Continuity Error Was Left Unexplained For 26 Years?