The firefly is sometimes referred to as a “lightening bug.” There are about 2,000 firefly species; for the most part they live in warm but humid environments. Fireflies are neither flies nor bugs; they are actually part of the beetle family. Fireflies are from the Animalia kingdom, and are of the Lampyridae family. Fireflies hibernate over winter by burrowing underground, under water or settle under the bark of a tree some can live for several years by hibernating as larva during the winter.
Most everyone knows how the fireflies got their name; the firefly produces light through a bioluminescence chemical reaction that allows them to glow however, fireflies in the western Untied States lack the ability to produce light. Fireflies in most cases are brown and have a soft body with two sets of wings. Male’s use the other set of wings that aide them in flying but the females have short wings in most species do not fly.
Fireflies produce what is called a “cold light” with no ultraviolet frequencies. They produce a light that comes from their lower abdomen that can range in colors such as yellow, green or a pale red. The fireflies take in oxygen and combine it calcium, adenosine triphosphate and luciferin to produce light that contains almost no heat. There are several uses for this light but in most cases it is used for the purpose of finding and catching a mate. Male will flash for every five seconds and the female will flash every two second. There are some fireflies that do not produce light those species are day-fliers such as the Ellychnia, which uses pheromones to signal their mates.
Fireflies talk to each other using light signals, male fireflies fly around giving off species-specific patterns to let the females know that he is available. When a female is interested she too gives off signals letting him know where she is so he can locate her. However, some species usually the firefly of the genera Plotinus, Phouris, and Pyractomena are distinguished by their unique courtship flash patterns. The females of the Photinus genus do not fly, however they do give off a flash response to males of their own species.
After mating, a female will lay her fertilized eggs usually below the surface of the ground. Between three or four weeks the eggs will hatch, then larva, pupa and then adult. The larvae feed on worms and slugs by injecting them with a numbing fluid. The larvae put off a glow that serve a much different function than it does when they are adults. Larvae are sometimes referred to as “glowworms” in...