Erie, Pennsylvania

FirefliesFirefly Fun Facts

  • Although they are called fireflies and lightning bugs, they are neither a fly nor a bug.  Fireflies are a beetle.
  • Glowworms can refer to the larval stage of fireflies or to the flightless adult female fireflies in some species.
  • There are more than 2000 species of fireflies around the world.
  • The Pennsylvania Firefly (Photuris pennsylvanica) is the state insect of Pennsylvania.
  • The eggs of some species glow.
  • All fireflies glow in their larval stage.  Firefly larvae typically glow as a warning that they are toxic.
  • Not all species of fireflies glow in the adult stage.  Species active during the day usually don't glow.
  • Adult fireflies that are active at night glow to find and attract a mate.
  • The glow of a firefly is a cold light - there are no infrared or ultraviolets components.
  • Light production in fireflies is known as bioluminescence.
  • The glow produced by a firefly is very energy efficient - about 90% of the energy used is converted into light.  (By comparison, an incandescent lightbulb converts only 10% of the energy used into light and the rest is lost as heat.)
  • Most firefly larvae are predators, cosumming other insects, small snails, and slugs.
  • The diet of adult fireflies varies among species.  Some are predators, while others eat plant pollen or nectar.
  • Adult female fireflies belonging to the genus Photuris will mimic the flashes of other firefly species, capturing and eating the tricked males that come to investigate.
  • Some species of fireflies may live for several years.  Most of this time is spent in the larval stage, where they can easily burrow undground during the winter.