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

Upcoming Events

Discussion of 2018 gathering

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

Feathered Antennae - Pterotus obscuripennis - male

Feathered Antennae - Pterotus obscuripennis - Male
Sonora, Tuolumne County, California, USA
May 12, 2012
Size: ~ 12 mm
Came to porch light at night...cantharid or pyrochroid?

right, Pterotus obscuripennis
right, Pterotus obscuripennis...two species are recognized, the other being curticornis Chemsak. P. obscuripennis males are common throughout Calif at blacklight.

Mike Dean did an excellent life history monograph...

Dean, MB (1979) The natural history of Pterotus obscuripennis LeConte (Lampyridae, Coleoptera). Master of Arts Thesis, Humboldt State University 94 pp.

He found the larvae and larviform female and described both. Follow his observations to try and find more for general circulation. Lots of collection houses would surely like female/larval representation of this species.

This is indeed a firefly; the firefly fauna is diverse, and only one section of the pie chart includes the flashing/flying types seen back east. According to Fender, there is one flashing/flying ff in the Pacific northwest, a Photuris. I don't think it's in Calif. All of the Calif firefly fauna are either nonluminescent/dayfliers as adults (Ellychnia, Pyropyga, Ginglymocladius, Brachylampis, Matheteus)(some of these genera have been moved out of the family), or weakly luminescent males with larviform females (Microphotus, Phausis (see tutorial).

The uniramose antennae, long legs, and high-level neotenic female of Pterotus make it a candidate link between Phengodids and Lampyrids.

Fender, KM (1961) Family Lampyridae, Family Phengodidae. in: Hatch, M, ed. The Beetles of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle 16:35-43.

Chemsak, JA (1978) A new species of Pterotus LeConte from California. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. 54:157-158


Thanks Joe,
Really appreciate the information and your expertise..

Moved tentativley; neat bug...
Moved from Beetles.

Thanks V
This one had me confused, never seen a firefly like this one...

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.