Last of the Sandwalkers Sneak Peek with Jay Hosler
Posted 04/08/2015 by alicemarvels in Author Guest Post
Today we’re thrilled to welcome Jay Hosler to the blog to share a sneak peek at one of his creepy crawly characters from his new graphic novel, Last of the Sandwalkers. Meet Raef below, then check out the rest of the stops on Jay’s blog tour for more fun character sneak peeks!
Character Name: Raef
Species: Photinus pyralis
Length: 10-14 mm
Color: Mostly dark brown/black with a red spot on pronotum
Habitat: warm, moist habitats such a meadows, logs and beside streams
Superpower: Blinky butt
One of my favorite things about the summer is watching fireflies at twilight. When I was younger, I liked to imagine they were little stars falling up from the earth. Winking on and off, fireflies provide a gentle slow motion light show that is a welcome respite from the bombastic firework displays of the season.
Fireflies are small beetles that can be found all over the world. Hold one in your hand and you’ll see that the cool light they are generating comes from the tip of their abdomen. Each pulse is the product of a multitude of chemical reactions occurring in its body, each of which releases a little packet of light. This reaction is extraordinarily efficient. Most things that generate light also generate heat (something you learn quite quickly if you try to touch a lit candle or a light bulb that has been on for awhile), but fireflies keep their cool. Virtually all the energy from the reactions in their abdomens goes into light. In a few cases, entire populations of beetles can synchronize their pulses to create a spectacular display that rivals any Christmas light show. You can watch it here.
But, why would a little beetle that would be easy prey for a bird or bat want to do something as showy as flying up into the air and glowing brightly? Love. Firefly males don’t just flash, they flash in very specific patterns. Each species has a slightly different code of light pulses and females of the species watch for the appropriate call. If she is interested, she will signal back. Of course, codes like these can be broken and in Last of the Sandwalkers, the pun-loving firefly Raef learns that the hard way.
Nestled in the grass under the big palm tree by the edge of the desert there is an entire civilization—a civilization of beetles. In this bug’s paradise, beetles write books, run restaurants, and even do scientific research. One such scientist is Lucy, who leads a team of researchers out into the desert. Their mission is to discover something about the greater world…but what lies in wait for them is going to change everything Lucy thought she knew.
Beetles are not the only living creatures in the world.
Jay Hosler is a biology professor at Juniata College, and a cartoonist. He enjoys telling stories about science and the natural world, and his first graphic novel (Clan Apis) won a Xeric Award and was selected for YALSA’s 2002 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. His latest book, Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth, was a 2011 Junior Library Guild selection, a nominee for YALSA’s 2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and has been included in the Texas Library Association’s Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List. He lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife and his two little nerdlings.