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  • Big Dipper Firefly - (Photinus pyralis)

    Big Dipper Firefly - (Photinus pyralis)

    The gentle, harmless Big Dipper Firefly brings delight to the onlookers of the night sky - and a smile to the child in all of us.

    Staff Writer (8/15/2017): Fireflies are famous for their nighttime displays in the summer. These friendly beetles delight children and adults alike with their bioluminescence. The yellow-green glow comes from their abdomen. Chemical reactions inside the firefly create visible light without generating any heat. The intensity of the light and the frequency that it flashes is controlled by the firefly's nervous system.

    Capturing fireflies in jars to keep them stresses them terribly and eventually kills them. This insect should be admired and handled delicately, but ALWAYS release them back into nature.

    This particular species of firefly will flash its brightest light and then flies upward in a "j" curve as the light diminishes. They can be found in open fields, meadows, parks, gardens, front yards and backyards.

    Larvae feed on earthworms, slugs and snails, but adults are not known to eat at all.

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    Details of the:
    Big Dipper Firefly

    Category: Beetle
    Common name: Big Dipper Firefly
    Scientific Name: Photinus pyralis
    Other Names: Common Eastern Firefly, Pyralis Firefly

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Lampyridae
           Genus: Photinus
            Species: pyralis

    Size (Adult, Length): 9mm to 15mm (0.35in to 0.59in)

    Identifying Colors: black; red; yellow;

    Additional Descriptors: lightning, glow, light, green, helpful, flying

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma;Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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