Firefly facts

  • A firefly (family Lampyridae), also called lightning bug, is any of a large number of nocturnal beetles that produce short flashes of yellow, blue, or green light.
  • Fireflies produce a "cold light", with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies.
  • Fireflies have long fíat bodies ranging in length from ½ to ¾ of an inch.
  • About two-thousand species of firefly are found in temperate and tropical environments.
  • Fireflies are usually pale gray, black, or brown, and they sometimes have bright-yellow or orange spots on the head. In some species the wings of the females are very small or are entirely lacking.
  • Although fireflies are widely distributed throughout the world, they are most abundant in tropical and subtropical regions. A few species feed on small soft-bodied animals, but most fireflies do not eat at all during their adult life.
  • The flashes of light produced by fireflies are signals for attracting members of the opposite sex.
  • All fireflies produce light in special organs on the underside of the abdomen. The biochemical reaction that generates the light is controlled by the insect's nervous system. During the reaction a special substance, called luciferin, reacts with oxygen in the presence of an enzyme, called luciferase.
  • Firefly light is often called cold light because it gives off very little heat. In this respect it differs from the light-producing reaction of many other animals.
  • The female firefly usually lays about 75 to 150 eggs. 
  • Unlike the adults, however, its larvae produce light continuously, not in flashes. For this reason they are sometimes called glowworms.
  • Most fireflies are classified in the order Coleoptera, family Lampyridae.