There are many lightning bug species. Lightning bugs are not flies as the name firefly suggests. They are actually members of a particular family of the beetle. A lightning bug that is flashing its light is trying to attract a mate. In most, but not all, species of North American lightning bugs, it is the male who flies around flashing while the female is waiting on vegetation, usually close to the ground. When the female sees a flashing male she likes, she responds by flashing her own light right after the male's flash. After a short flashing chat between the two, the male will fly toward the female. If all goes well, they will mate.