Observatoire des Vers luisants et des Lucioles (OVL) / National French Glowworm and Firefly Observatory


from 01/05/1994 until 01/01/2270

L'Observatoire des Vers luisants et des Lucioles (OVL) / National French Firefly Observatory is a citizen science project that started in 2015 and unites over 15000 observers per year. It is working on a national level, covering metropolitan France and its overseas domains and territories. Participants are asked to announce to the observatory that they have seen fireflies/glowworms, where, when, and how many. Once they have answered these basic questions citizen scientists have the choice to answer more questions about gardening practices, pesticide and limacide use, light pollution, etc. We propose also more "personalized" works to participants that ask for in proposing short 1.5km walks "searching for fireflies" with questions, explanations etc. Also vulgarisation talks about bioluminescence, fireflies, light pollution are given upon demand. 


The presence of fireflies and glowworms (Lampyridae) are in general considered good indicators of healthy environments. So we hope through the study of the animals to obtain means to measure the good or bad conditions of ecosystems. Fireflies have enormous goodwill with the general public and the numerous observations that we get per year clearly reflect this. The different data obtained (already > 90000 observations) will be compared with maps of for instance light pollution, land use, agricultural practices, etc. The data will be published once analyzed both in peer-reviewed scientific and vulgarisation articles. For the moment we published or participate in articles of work concerning specific areas of France (Alsace, Brittany, Normandie, Ain, Quercy, Pyrenees Orientales, etc). We provided also help to the IUCN on several subjects. Often the citizen scientist that brought in really important information will have a place among the authors. 

It is important to mention that data from all over the world are welcome. As we are  actively collaborating with several firefly observatories all over the world, non-French data will be forwarded to the "right observatories". 

Needed equipment

Good eyesight, a red light-emitting torch, good walking shoes, and a raincoat. If more is necessary OVL will provide it. 

About funding

Funding bodies: none

Created Oct. 30, 2022, 1:44 p.m.

Updated Nov. 5, 2022, 5:16 p.m.

Vulgarisation Bioluminescence Ver Luisant Glowworm Firefly Luciole Citizen Science
Science Topics
Agriculture & Veterinary science Animals Biodiversity Biogeography Biology Climate & Weather Ecology & Environment Education Genetics Geography Indigenous culture Long-term species monitoring Nature & outdoors
Participate from home Suitable for children Do-it-yourself Teaching materials available
Difficulty Level
Participation tasks
Observation Site selection and/or description Identification Learning Photography Specimen/sample collection Data Entry Annotation Audio or video recording Measurement Geolocation
Regional Global National
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