Firefly Amazing Facts

25 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Fireflies | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. Amazing fact is that fireflies are not flies.They are beetles. Ideally they should be called Firebeetles!
  2. Biologically fireflies are of the order Coleoptera and have wings.The family to which the fireflies belong is known as Lampyridae. All insects within the Lampyridae family are nocturnal.
  3. Insects in Lampyridae family can glow exhibiting bioluminescence but not all of them can fly. Those that fly are called fireflies. Those that don’t fly are called glowworms.
  4. Most of the European female fireflies remain flightless into adulthood and take on the form of glowworms.
  5. There are nearly 2,000 different species of fireflies present. They all are world’s most efficient light producers as they produce 100% of the light by chemical reaction known as bioluminescence. Compare this with incandescent bulbs produced by humans wherein only 10% of the energy is converted to light while the remaining 90% is lost in the form of heat.
  6. Not all fireflies glow. Of the 2000 different species that live on this planet, there are a few species that do not glow at all.
  7. Fireflies have special organs under the abdomen. Inside these special organs is a compound known as luciferin. There is also an enzyme known as luciferase. Inside these special organs, luciferase reacts with luciferin in presence of oxygen, adenosine triphosphate and magnesium ions to produce light.
  8. The light produced by fireflies can vary in color. While yellow is the most common color of light produced by these flying beetles, there are other light variants as well such as, pale red, orange and even green.
  9. Amazing fact is that fireflies do not produce light in the ultraviolet or infrared frequencies. All colors of light they produce fall within the range of 510 and 670 nanometers of wavelength within our visible range.
  10. Amazingly irrespective of whether the adult fireflies glow or not, all larvae glow. Bioluminescence is larvae has only one function which is to ward off predators.
  11. Adult fireflies use their light for attracting mates. Sometimes, the males may flash or sometimes, they may emit steady glow. Flashing in fireflies are species specific. In other words, fireflies of two different species will flash in different patterns.
  12. Adult females reply to this mating call using species specific flashing. Females can actually process the information from flashing pattern to select the most suitable mating partner.
  13. Amazing fact is that in some places at some times, fireflies synchronize their flashing.
  14. Luciferase has proven to be a useful chemical in scientific research, food safety testing and forensic tests. It can be used to detect levels of ATP in cells.
  15. When luciferase was first discovered, the only way to obtain the chemical was from fireflies themselves. Today, synthetic luciferase is available, but some companies still harvest fireflies.
  16. Once mating is done, females lay the fertilized eggs just under the ground surface or on the surface. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks for the eggs to hatch.
  17. At larval stage, many fireflies hibernate throughout the winter. Some can actually hibernate for years. They hibernate under tree barks or under the ground.
  18. Once out of hibernation, the larvae undergo the pupae stage for nearly 1 to 2.5 weeks to finally fly out as adults.
  19. Feeding pattern of fireflies differ dramatically from one species to another. However, in case of most species, larvae are actually skilled predators. They particularly enjoy snails.
  20. In some species, larvae have extremely specialized appendages known as mandibles which are grooved and allow the larvae to directly inject digestive fluids into their prey which gets dissolved from inside for the larvae to suck the dissolved stuff.
  21. Amazingly there are some species of fireflies that lay eggs in water. The eggs hatch there and the larvae have gills and they feed on aquatic snails. Finally, after the pupa stage, they fly out to as fireflies.
  22. Amazingly not all species adults are carnivores. While larvae of almost all species are carnivores, the adults may grow up taking only pollen diet. In fact, some may just grow into mouth less adults not eating at all during their adult life phase!
  23. Fireflies love moist and humid areas where food is abundant.
  24. Fireflies have an average lifespan of 2 months out there in the wild and the maximum size they can attain as fully grown adults is about 1 inch.
  25. Fireflies are gradually declining in numbers and they may be pushed to the brink of extinction as they are losing habitat due to human encroachment. Once a habitat is destroyed, fireflies that lived there simply disappear forever. They just don’t migrate to some other place!

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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