Firefly Conservation & Research is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 by Ben Pfeiffer, a firefly researcher, and Texas-certified master naturalist with a degree in biology from Texas State University.
“It was maybe 2008 when I noticed the fireflies in South Texas were disappearing,” Ben says. “There weren’t as many as I remembered when I was a kid. And then I heard a report on firefly decline on NPR Radio that confirmed it.”
Ben was uniquely suited to tackle this problem. He is a 6th generation Texan who grew up exploring the hills of the Texas Hill Country and brush country of South Texas where he developed a deep understanding of the state’s unique ecology. Ben is also a beekeeper and certified-naturalist with Texas Parks & Wildlife. Ben attended Texas State University in San Marcos for a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He combined that with a background in marketing, web development, and SEO to build a website and foundation that would help him and others take action.
“The website has two missions,” Ben says. “To educate the public on threats to fireflies and how they can help; and to serve as a resource for scientists.” Currently, Ben is working on an exhaustive catalog of Texas and Southwest firefly species. He is working to document their natural history such as life cycle, behavior, live photos for ID purposes, flash patterns, and species diversity studies.
“Most fireflies in Texas and the southwest have never been documented beyond their original species description which often doesn’t include more than basic information. For most species, live photos or flash patterns have never been documented.” says Ben. His research is helping to illuminate this information about the state’s incredibly rich bio-luminescent diversity so that others can work to preserve and enjoy it.
Firefly.org has been featured and interviewed by many news outlets, journals, and research organizations since its founding. Those include the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, Central Texas Gardener, the National Wildlife Foundation, Smithsonian Magazine, NASA, USA Today, the Examiner, CBS Morning News, the Indianapolis Star, The Firefly Experience book, and The Fireflies Book, among many others.
Ben is currently a member of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) – Firefly specialist group, working to evaluate the extinction risk (Red List) classification for North American firefly species.
For information on Ben’s speaking schedule, firefly walks, field training, and contact info, please visit the contact us page. If you are interested in asking Ben to speak or scheduling a site visit to ID fireflies on your property, please let him know a range of dates you would prefer & specific location information.
To contact Ben, please visit our contact page to email him directly. Text, phone and Zoom are available.
Fireflies are some of nature’s most beautiful and mysterious creations and it’s unfortunate that we are seeing less and less of them where we live. Thank you for visiting this site and be sure to read about our section about how your can help firelies return in your area.