Species Photinus pyralis
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
No Taxon (Series Elateriformia)
Superfamily Elateroidea (Click, Firefly and Soldier Beetles)
Family Lampyridae (Fireflies)
Species pyralis (Photinus pyralis)
Other Common Names
Pyralis Firefly, Eastern Firefly, Common Eastern Firefly, Big Dipper Firefly
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Photinus pyralis (Linnaeus)
Orig. Comb: Lampyris pyralis Linnaeus 1767
Explanation of Names
pyralis (G). "of fire".
reference to Greek myth of a fly that rises from fire (1)
nearly 50 spp. n. of Mex. (2)
Large for a Photinus
. Blackish-brown finely, densely rugose (wrinkled) elytra, side margins and suture of elytra yellow. Pronotal disk pinkish with a black spot. Pronotum convex. Underside: Ventral abdominal segments six and seven large and occupied by light organ in male. Abdominal sternites of male have distinct (3)
. Female flightless (1)
, or "seldom" flies, as it does have normal wings (4)
Flash is distinctive: male hovers about two feet (0.6 m) above ground, then drops vertically, gives single prolonged flash as is ascending, then flash diminishes (3)
. Flashing occurs at dusk, earlier in evening than most other fireflies.
e US (TX-FL-NY-IA) (5)
, (BG data)
Meadows and edges of woodlands, including lawns, suburbs.
mostly May-Aug (BG data)
Adult does not feed, larvae predaceous on insect larvae, slugs, snails (1)
Eggs are laid on moist soil. Larvae take two summers to complete growth, overwintering twice, pupate in (spring?) in chambers in moist soil (1)
Dillon, p. 254, plate 25A #2, fig. 194--abdomen of male (3)
Marshall, photo 316.1 (8)
|2.||American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea|
Arnett, R.H., Jr., M. C. Thomas, P. E. Skelley and J. H. Frank. (eds.). 2002. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL.
|3.||A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America|
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
|4.||The Common Insects of North America|
Lester A. Swan, Charles S. Papp. 1972. Harper & Row.
|6.|| A distributional checklist of the beetles (Coleoptera) of Florida.|
Peck & Thomas. 1998. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainesville. 180 pp.
|7.||Insects of North Carolina|
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.