is a Firefly?
Fireflies (Pyractomena borealis)
are also known as lightning bugs and glowworms.
Fireflies are not really "flies" as
entomologists know them, but instead are beetles
from the family Lampyridae. There are over 2000
species of fireflies living in the tropical and
temperate regions of this world. They range in
size from 1/5 of an inch to 1 inch in length.
Most fireflies in the United States are
about an inch or less in length. If you happen
to live in the United States West of Kansas,
you are not likely to have flashing fireflies
in your area. Although some isolated sightings
of luminous fireflies have been reported from
time to time throughout the regions of the Western
United States. The reason for the regional distribution
of this insect phenomenon is not known. Fireflies
inhabit warm humid
areas throughout the world, especially tropical
Asia, and Central and South America. Some species
may be found in very arid regions and are usually
spotted following rain. Fireflies live in areas
of abundant water, such as ponds, streams, marshes
or even depressions, ditches, etc., that may
retain moisture longer than other surrounding
Flashing fireflies or Lightning Bugs are glowing
to try to attract a mate. Amongst most, but not
all, species of North American Lightning Bugs,
it is the males that fly about flashing their
luminescence bodies while the females will perch
on vegetation, usually nearer to the ground. When
a female sees a flasher she likes, she responds
by flashing right after the male's last flash.
A short flash dialogue takes place as the male
gets closer and closer, and then, if all goes
well, they will mate. Some mated females use aggressive
mimicry to trick another organism into thinking
it is another insect.
These females belong to several species in the
genus Photuris where they mimic the female responses
of other fireflies in the same area in order to
attract the males of the mimicked species to them.
When the males are tricked into landing near these
mimics to mate, they are pounced upon and eaten!
Check out our electronic firefly light effects
kit to see a decoration that looks like real fireflies
flying around in the dark!