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Common Eastern Firefly (Photinus pyralis)

Photinus pyralis
Common Easter Firefly
 
Adult diagnosis:
 
One of the most common fireflies in North America this firefly is typically dark brown with the elytra trimmed in yellow with a dorso-ventrally flattened body. It has an orange/red and yellow head with a black spot. Its size averages at about 10-14mm long. The female usually have short wings and do not fly. 
1106131853.jpg
(photo by Amber McCown)
Common Eastern Firefly
(June, St. Charles Co., MO photo by David Larson)
 
Larvae:
 
The larvae, called glow worms, and the eggs glow as well as the adults. They have six legs, a pair of antennae, and a flattened segmented abdomen. 
Photinus pyralis eggs in cluster 80X
(photos by Terry Lynch)
 
Natural history:
 
Specific flashing signals are used by both the males and female to communicate. The females wait on the ground to answer a passing male's signal with one of their own. In this species the males flash for 0.3 seconds every 5.5 seconds with the female's flash appearing 2 seconds after the male's. They mate in Summer and early Fall. The flashing also deters predators because the insect contains a poisonous steroid. 
 
 
Distribution:
 
These fireflies can be found throughout the United States East of the Rockies.
 
Habitat:
 
Larvae can be found in moist places such as on the ground or under bark. Adults tend to be in meadows or along woodland edges.
 
Diet:
 
Both adult and larvae are predatious and feed on other insects, earthworms and snails. 
 
Conservation status:
 
No special status. 
 
Links:
 
 
 

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