Family Lampyridae - Fireflies
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)
Other Common Names
Firefly Beetles, Lightning Bugs, Glowworms (1)
Explanation of Names
Lampyridae Rafinesque 1815
from lampyris 'glowworm' from Greek 'shining'
ca. 170 spp. in ~20 genera in our area(1)
, ~2200 described spp. in ~110 genera worldwide and estimated thousands undescribed(2)
Overview of our faunaFamily Lampyridae
Soft-bodied beetles; head is concealed from above by pronotum (exposed in Cantharidae); last 2-3 abdominal sternites often modified to light-emitting organs; tarsal formula 5-5-5
In general, the bioluminescence of
Photinus is Yellow
Photuris is Green
is Orange-Yellow or Amber (1)
most northeastern spp. can be identified using Luk et al. 2011(3)
see Lloyd, 1995
for distribution of most e. US spp.(4)
larvae mostly in damp situations
Larvae prey on small animals, including snails; adults of many genera do not feed(5)
. Female Photuris
are known to lure Photinus
males using the flash pattern of female Photinus
, and eat them to obtain defensive chemicals(6)
Some species, especially the genera Photinus, Photuris, and Pyractomena, are distinguished by the unique courtship flash patterns emitted by flying males in search of females. In general, females of the Photinus genus do not fly, but do give a flash response to males of their own species.
Larvae produce light to deter predators, but some species lose this ability as adults.
larvae luminescent, emit light from the tail area
Many firefly spp. are well chemically protected, primarily by the steroid-like lucibufagins that make them distasteful to jumping spiders and birds(6)
Faust. L.F. (2017) Fireflies, Glow-worms, and lightning bugs: Identification and natural history of the fireflies of the eastern and central United States and Canada. University of Georgia Press, Athens. 400 pp. (7)
Lewis, S. 2016. Silent sparks: The wondrous world of fireflies. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. xi + 240 pp. (8)
Lloyd, J.E. 1990. Checklist and keys to fireflies of east-central Alabama. Stridulator 4(3): 9-21. (9)
Lloyd, J.E. 2002. Family 62: Lampyridae. Pp. 187–96. In: R.H. Arnett, M.C. Thomas, P.E. Skelley, and J.H. Frank (eds.) American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. xiv + 861 pp. (1)
Lloyd, J.E. 2003. On research and entomological education VI: Firefly species and lists, old and new. Florida Entomologist 86(2): 99–113. (10)
Luk S.P.L., S.A. Marshall, and M.A. Branham. 2011. The fireflies (Coleptera: Lampyridae) of Ontario. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 16: 1-105. (3)
Majka C.G. 2012. The Lampyridae (Coleoptera) of Atlantic Canada. Journal of the Acadian Entomological Society 8: 11-29. (11)
|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.
|3.||The fireflies (Coleptera; Lampyridae) of Ontario|
Luk S.P.L., Marshall S.A., Branham M.A. 2011. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 16: 1-105.
|4.|| A distributional checklist of the beetles (Coleoptera) of Florida.|
Peck & Thomas. 1998. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainesville. 180 pp.
|6.||For Love of Insects|
Thomas Eisner. 2003. Belknap Press.
|8.||Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies|
Sara Lewis. 2016. Princeton University Press.
|11.||The Lampyridae (Coleoptera) of Atlantic Canada|
Majka C.G. 2012. Journal of the Acadian Entomological Society 8: 11-29.