I found this beautiful firefly larva on the doorway of my house. Fireflies are found on every continent except Antarctica. Fireflies, also commonly called lightning bugs, use their bioluminescent abdomens to attract mates. The pattern of flashes is unique to each species, as is the colour of their glow. I captured this firefly larva using Sony Alpha A7R III fitted with Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens and illuminated with Godox Ving V860C II E-TTL Li-ion Camera Flash fitted with DIY diffuser.
Similar to the adult form, larvae are nocturnal, and therefore are active at night and lurk on the soil surface or under debris, unseen. They appear rather alien. So… where are the eyes? Looks like an empty head? Their mouth part protrude only when they are walking. It would otherwise be retracted in for sake of safety. These are useful in eating other arthropods; larvae devour slugs, snails, and soil-dwelling critters. Though not all adult firefly species glow, all firefly larvae do, and the intensity and frequency of the light increase when they are disturbed, likely as a form of protection and a warning signal to would-be predators.
Both adult and larval fireflies are extremely distasteful, with some species “weeping” foul-tasting blood from their bodies when threatened.
Did you know that fireflies are neither flies nor bugs? They’re beetles. Coleoptera, the beetle order, is the largest of all the insect orders, accounting for approximately 40 per cent of all insect species. Fireflies are in the beetle family Lampyridae. Most fireflies are an inch or less in length and have soft, flexible forewings (elytra), instead of the characteristic hard elytra that most beetles possess. This anatomical difference is another reason that fireflies may not register as a beetle in most peoples’ minds.
Adult fireflies eat mostly pollen and nectar, though some species eat nothing at all. Males fly around flashing a particular pattern in hopes of finding a female of the same species. He signals first then she signals her response, often from a low perch. Female fireflies lay eggs in the ground (though a few lay eggs in trees). Favoured egg-laying sites include moist places near ponds and streams and in leaf litter. Larval fireflies live under or on the ground and serve as generalist predators, savouring slugs, snails, worms and other insect larvae. They capture their prey and inject it with a paralytic substance before consuming it.
EXIF info – Aperture : ƒ/7.1 | Camera : ILCE-7RM3 | Taken : 30 August, 2018 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 90mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4.0311′ 0″ N 74° 59.7279′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/160s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.