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Family Phengodidae - Glowworm Beetles

glowworm - Phengodes - male Phengodidae larva, glowing - Phengodes plumosa - female Paraptorthodius mirabilis Schaeffer - Paraptorthodius mirabilis Glowworm!!! - Phengodes glow worm-male - Phengodes - male Glow Worm beetle - Phengodes - male Zaphipis integripennis, Western Banded Glowworm, male - Zarhipis integripennis - male Extremely bipectinate beetle - Phengodes
Classification
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 Phengodidae (Glowworm Beetles)
Other Common Names
Glow-worms, Railroad Worms
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
the Asian Rhagophthalmidae (~30 spp.) formerly included here as subfamily are now treated as a separate familyl(1)
Explanation of Names
Phengodidae LeConte 1861
Numbers
23 spp. in 6 genera of 2 tribes north of Mexico, ~250 spp. in ~30 genera total(2)
Identification
Adult males have variously shortened/narrowed soft elytra, branched antennae, and bulging eyes; adult females are larviform (often all but impossible to tell from fully-grown larvae) and, like the larvae, have bioluminescent organs(2)
Distinguishing adult females from larvae, per J.M. Cicero: "Adult females are much larger, having supernumerated beyond the male instar count and/or grown larger on nutritional bases; we don't know which of these factors is responsible for the larger size. Zarhipis and Phengodes larvae, at least, have strong opaque dorsal sclerites while in the female, those markings are bleached and weak. Lastly, females have a semi-circular slit on the penultimate ventrite that is associated with a copulatory gonopore. Larvae don't have either."
Range
New World; in our area, mostly so. US, with 1 sp. (Phengodes plumosa) reaching ON and all Mastinocerini restricted to sw. US (CA-TX)(2)(3)
Food
adult females and larvae feed on millipedes(2); adult males do not feed
Remarks
mostly nocturnal; males come to lights(4)