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Family Lampyridae - Fireflies

Firefly Larva - Photuris Pyractomena Firefly larva #1 - Pyractomena Beetle? - Pyropyga decipiens Firefly - Ontario - Photuris fairchildi Photinus? Firefly - Photinus I found an unusual firefly in my backyard. - Photinus Photinus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga
No Taxon (Series Elateriformia)
Superfamily Elateroidea
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
Incertae sedis Pterotus
4-18 mm(1)
Soft-bodied beetles; head is concealed from above by pronotum (versus 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, green; Pyractomena, orange-yellow or amber(1)
the best guide to the eastern fauna in(3)
keys to most northeastern spp. in(4)
larvae mostly in damp situations
Larvae prey on small animals, including snails; adults of many genera do not feed. Female Photuris are known to lure Photinus males using the flash pattern of female Photinus, and eat them to obtain defensive chemicals(5)
Life Cycle
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(5)
"Noteworthy sexual dimorphism: females of several species (e.g. Pleotomus spp., Pleotomodes spp., Lucidota luteicollis LeConte, and several in Photinus) have shortened elytra and wings, and females or both males and females of Pyropyga nigricans (G. A. Olivier) from some sites have reduced wings and elytra (Lloyd 1999). Brachyptery is not known to occur in Photuris, Ellychnia, or Pyractomena. Females of some genera, such as Microphotus and Phausis are larva-like to some degree, but whether they are larviform is problematic (see Cicero, 1988)." -Lloyd, 2002, American Beetles Vol. 2
See Also
Print References
Martin G.J., Stanger-Hall K.F., Branham M.A., Da Silveira L.F.L., Lower S.E., Hall D.W., Li X., Lemmon A.R., Lemmon E.M., Bybee S.M. (2019) Higher-Level Phylogeny and Reclassification of Lampyridae (Coleoptera: Elateroidea). Insect Systematics and Diversity 3(6), 11: 1-15.
Green, J. W. 1948. Two new species of Lampyridae from southern Florida, with a generic revision of the Nearctic fauna (Coleoptera). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 74(2): 61–73. (JSTOR)
McDermott, F. A. 1964. The taxonomy of the Lampyridae (Coleoptera). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 90(1): 1–72.(JSTOR)
Internet References
Fireflies of Texas (Quinn 2016)
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.Order Coleoptera Linnaeus, 1758. In: Zhang Z.-Q. (ed.) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification...
Ślipiński S.A., Leschen R.A.B., Lawrence J.F. 2011. Zootaxa 3148: 203–208.
3.Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs: Identification and Natural History of the Fireflies of the E. and C. U.S. & Canada.
Faust, L.F. 2017. University of Georgia Press, Athens. 400 pp.
4.The fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) of Ontario
Luk S.P.L., Marshall S.A., Branham M.A. 2011. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 16: 1-105.
5.For Love of Insects
Thomas Eisner. 2003. Belknap Press.
6.Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies
Sara Lewis. 2016. Princeton University Press.
7.Checklist and keys to fireflies of east-central Alabama.
Lloyd, J.E. 1990. Stridulator 4(3): 9-21.
8.On research and entomological education VI: Firefly species and lists, old and new.
Lloyd, J.E. 2003. Florida Entomologist 86(2): 99–113.
9.Field Guide to Western North American Fireflies
Buschman, L. 2016. 33 pgs.