Firefly

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Cyphonocerinae
Lampyrinae
Luciolinae
Ototetrinae (disputed)
Photurinae
and see below

Genera incertae sedis:
Oculogryphus
Pterotus LeConte, 1859

Lampyridae is a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged beetles, and commonly called fireflies or lightning bugs for their conspicuous crepuscular use of bioluminescence to attract mates or prey. Fireflies produce a "cold light", with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies. This chemically-produced light from the lower abdomen may be yellow, green, or pale red, with wavelengths from 510 to 670 nanometers.

There are 2,000 species of firefly found in temperate and tropical environments. Many are in marshes or in wet, wooded areas where their larvae have abundant sources of food. These larvae emit light and are often called "glowworms", particularly in Eurasia. In the Americas, "glow worm" also refers to the related Phengodidae.

Contents

Biology

Fireflies also known as glow worms, tend to be brown and softbodied, often with the elytra more leathery than in other beetles. Though the females of some species are similar in appearance to males, larviform females are found in many other firefly species. Superficially, these females can often be distinguished from the larvae only because they have compound eyes. The most commonly known fireflies are nocturnal, though there are numerous species that are diurnal. Most diurnal species are non-luminescent, though some species that remain in shadowy areas can produce light.

A few days after mating, a female lays her fertilized eggs on or just below the surface of the ground. The eggs hatch 3–4 weeks later and the larvae feed until the end of the summer. The larvae are commonly called glowworms, not to be confused with the distinct beetle family Phengodidae or fly genus Arachnocampa. Lampyrid larvae have simple eyes. The term glowworm is also used for both adults and larvae of species such as Lampyris noctiluca, the common European glowworm, in which only the non-flying adult females glow brightly and the flying males glow only weakly and intermittently.

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