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North America has a variety of Fireflies that light up the night with their cool blink of illumination.
The genus Photuris contains a myriad of species of Fireflies. These small beetles are completely harmless to people and are often caught for closer inspection. The abdomen is yellow and contains chemicals that allow the insect to phosphoresce. Most species illuminate in shades or green or blue, but a few species flash orange or red. The timing pattern of each species' blinking differs, which can help them differentiate between other species in the same area. One species, the Pennsylvania Firefly, mimics the timing of another genus in order to lure males so they can eat them.
After mating, eggs are laid in tree canopies, far from human eyes. Little is known about the early life stage of Fireflies because of this reason. This is a wonderful insect to introduce to children. Fireflies are gentle and stoke curiosity thanks to their bioluminescence. They are slow walkers, but difficult to catch in flight. Once caught, Fireflies walk to the highest point in order to take flight again. This often means one will leisurely walk all the way to the tip of a raised finger before launching. It would be difficult to find a friendlier insect on a warm summer night.
Scientific Name: Photuris spp.
Other Name(s): Lightening Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 20mm (0.39in to 0.78in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.