A soft glow is often seen in the wake of passing ships. This is caused by bacteria called dinoflagelates. When disturbed, they produce something called bioluminescence. Chemical reactions within their single celled bodies cause them to glow. Similar chemical reactions happen inside of fireflies. One chemical (luciferin) produces the light and the other (luciferase) acts as a catalyst. It is a “cold” light (producing no heat). Man’s best technology has still not been able to reproduce this. The closest we can get is chem-lights (glow sticks). These produce light by combining two chemicals: diphenyl oxalate and peroxide. They do produce light without heat, but it doesn’t last more than a few hours. The chemicals we use are toxic, unlike fireflies. And, it’s not controllable like bioluminescence. We can’t make the light brighter or dimmer at will. Fireflies can vary the brightness, flash in pulses and patterns, or shut it off altogether. Our best effort is still only a flawed attempt to duplicate the work of the Master Designer. His miraculous handiwork is seen even in something as simple as the soft, pulsing glow of a lightning bug.
Living Light by Frank Sherwin, M.A. ICR Acts & Facts Jan. 2003