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TaxonomyBrowse
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Species Photinus carolinus - Synchronous Firefly

Photinus carolinus Green - Photinus carolinus Photinus carolinus Green - Photinus carolinus
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 Lampyridae (Fireflies)
Subfamily Lampyrinae
Tribe Lucidotini
Genus Photinus
Species carolinus (Synchronous Firefly)
Explanation of Names
Photinus carolinus Green 1956
Numbers
nearly 50 spp. n. of Mex. (1)
Size
Length 8-12.5 mm (2)
Identification
"This species is an Appalachian offshoot of the more northern P. ardens, from which it differs in its broader form, generally darker pigmentation, and better defined pronotal vitta, the disk each side clear fulvous or flavate and unobscured by darker maculation." (2) See Faust (2010) for more discussion.
Range
s. Appalachian Mtns: TN-GA-VA-PA (3), but Elkmont, Tennessee apparently has the largest population (Brown 2011)
Habitat
hardwood forests near streams (3); highest densities at 732m (2400’), though isolated individuals have been found as low as 488m (1600’) and as high as 1524 m (5000’). (Faust 2010)
Season
Since 1993, the peak date has occurred at various times from the third week of May to the third week in June. (NPS)
Life Cycle
display begins in earnest just after 2130 (9:30 pm) and reaches a crescendo around 2200. the display consisted of roughly five seconds of rapid mass flashing followed by roughly five seconds of darkness. (MAQ pers. obs., 2014) Both time intervals are temperature dependent and signalling lasts for up to 3 hrs. (Faust 2010)
Remarks
Type Locality: Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina, 6711 ft., VI-24-1937 (2)
See Also
Photinus ardens LeConte - Type
Photinus consimilis Green
note, there are at least 13 Lampyridae species commonly found in Elkmont during the P. carolinus season (Faust 2010)
Print References
Bole, G.M. 2001. The role of sexual selection in speciation in two firefly species, Photinus ardens and Photinus carolinus. Ph.D. Dissertation. State University of New York at Stony Brook. 115 pp.
Copeland, J., and A. Moiseff. 1995. The occurrence of synchrony in the North American firefly Photinus carolinus (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). Journal of Insect Behavior 8: 381–394. Springer
Copeland, J., A. Moiseff, and L. Faust. 2008. Landing distance in a synchronic North American firefly. Physiological Entomology 33: 110–115.
Faust, L.F. 2010. Natural history and flash repertoire of the synchronous firefly Photinus carolinus (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Florida Entomologist, 93(2): 208-217. Full Text
Faust, L.F., and P.A. Weston. 2009. Degree-day prediction of adult emergence of Photinus carolinus (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). Environmental Entomology 38(5): 1505-12. BioOne
Green, J.W. 1956. Revision of the Nearctic species of Photinus (Lampyridae: Coleoptera). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 28: 561–613. (2)
Lloyd, J.E. 1966. Studies on the flash communication system in Photinus fireflies. Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 130: 1-95. (3)
Internet References
Synchronous Fireflies - Great Smoky Mountains, NPS
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.Revision of the Nearctic species of Photinus (Lampyridae: Coleoptera).
Green, J.W. 1956. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 28: 561–613.
3.Studies on the flash communication system in Photinus fireflies.
Lloyd, J.E. 1966. Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 130: 1-95.