Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


Genus Photuris

Firefly - Photuris Firefly? - Photuris Unknown Insect(larva)? - Photuris Photuris? - Photuris Lampyrid 2 - Photuris Photuris - female Photuris Firefly - Photuris
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)
Subfamily Photurinae
Genus Photuris
Explanation of Names
Photuris LeConte 1851
Greek 'luminous tail'
~50 spp. in our area(1)
Head often visible from above, not completely covered by pronotum as in Photinus. Legs typically long and slender, not compressed, antennae simple(2). Elytral fold, visible from side, incomplete (left) vs complete in Photinus (right)(3)
Females mimic flash patterns of females of other genera, esp. Photinus. Males are lured in and consumed. They do this for nutrition and, perhaps, to obtain chemical defenses from other lampyrids(4)(5)(Eisner et al. 1997)
Species identification is problematic. Several undescribed species exist which can be separated only by subtle differences in flash patterns. Most submitted images will remain on the genus page only because of this new finding.
Print References
Barber, H.S. 1951. North American fireflies in the genus Photuris. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 117(1): 1–58.
Eisner et al., 1997. Firefly “femmes fatales” acquire defensive steroids (lucibufagins) from their firefly prey. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 94: 9723–9728.
Works Cited
1.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.
2.A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
3.Peterson Field Guides: Beetles
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.
4.The Encyclopedia of Land Invertebrate Behaviour
Rod Preston-Mafham, Ken Preston-Mafham. 1993. MIT Press.
5.For Love of Insects
Thomas Eisner. 2003. Belknap Press.