Critter Corner - Firefly
DID YOU KNOW:
Fireflies are really beetles. Fireflies produce light
through a process called bioluminescence. A combination of
oxygen and chemicals results in the release of carbon dioxide and
visible light, with virtually no heat! Eggs and larvae of
some firefly species also glow. There are dozens of firefly
species found in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains,
and more than 1,000 around the world.
As adults, some firefly species do not eat at all. But the
larvae are all predators, feeding on bugs, snails, slugs and
earthworms by injecting digestive enzymes into the victim and
sucking out the liquefied parts.
A female firefly may lay 100 or more glowing eggs in soil.
Larvae hatch from the eggs in three to four weeks. The
larvae eat all summer and dig down into the soil during winter.
They emerge again in the following spring to continue eating and
growing. After another year, the larva forms a cocoon and
pupates for about 10 days and then emerges as a full-grown
adult. The adult may live only a couple of weeks.
Many firefly species choose meadows, lawns and fields.
prefer shrubs and trees. Edges of woods and streams are
often active firefly habitats. Different species are
active at different times of the evening and into the night.
Fireflies have few defenses and are preyed upon by those animals
that eat insects. If you catch fireflies on a warm summer
evening, observe hem for only a few minutes and let them go
Male fireflies fly around and signal with their lights.
The females signal back while perched on a blade of grass or
twig. Through a series of signal and responses, the
male is able to find the female of its own species.
each species has its own code, or flash pattern, and
different shade of green, gold or pale yellow.
The warmer the temperature outdoors, the better their lights
Large firefly from European Physical Society web page; firefly
on leaf from Ohio State Educational website)