Firefly (Lightning Bug)

Their flashing lights can turn a summer evening into a time of magic. Here's the insect that's responsible.

Firefly

Firefly

The adult firefly

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Flashing above the lawn and in the trees in the early summer evenings, the firefly engages in its mating rituals, blinking on and off in a pattern that's unique to one of the many sub-species.

Firefly Larva

Firefly Larva

The larval stage of the firefly bears little resemblance to the adult it will become.

These insects — actually small beetles — go through a complete metamorphosis. The adults look nothing like the larvae.

The eating patterns between young and old are very different too: Larvae feed on snails, slugs, earthworms and insect larvae; adult fireflies — if they eat at all — feed on nectar and pollen. 

Glowworms are cousins of fireflies but lack wings.

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