Photinus sabulosus

Firefly
Photinus sabulosus

 

Firefly Photinus sabulosus on underside of Dogwood leaf, just below Mulberry. July 25, 2017, Leamington, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus sabulosus on underside of Dogwood leaf, just below Mulberry. July 25, 2017, Leamington, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black. Male has larger eyes than female.
Antenna: Black.
Thorax (Pronotum): Semi-circular, hind margin straight across. Center black mark tear-drop shaped, wider near front tip (base), narrowing and not touching hind border. The spot may be glass-like (vittiform or vitriform) sometimes appearing brownish or barely visible. Rose or pinkish-red stripe each side of black mark, only on lower half of thorax and not touching hind margin. Very pale yellow translucent outside border is narrower at front tip and widest at outside hind margin and extends narrowly across hind margin.

Firefly Photinus sabulosus on Butternut leaf. July 06, 2014, Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus sabulosus on Butternut leaf. July 06, 2014, Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings (Elytra): Long, slightly narrow; dark brown to black. Very pale gold border on outside edge is wide; inner wing gold edge (suture) is narrow. Center base of wings (scutellum) is black with a pale golden tip.
Legs: Black, sometimes with light covering of pale pile on shins (tibiae).
Abdomen: Brownish-black. Male underside segments 1 to 4 brownish-black, mottled. Last 2 segments before tip larger, yellowish (light organs). Tip brown with pale sides, raised at center (tent-like). Very short pale flash. Female underside segments 1 to 4 brownish-black. Last 2 segments before tip are yellowish (segment 5 not a light organ) with brown at each side edge. Tip rounded, black. Pale short flash.

Size: 6 to 7.5 mm.

Firefly Photinus sabulosus on underside of Dogwood leaf, just below Mulberry. July 25, 2017, Leamington, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus sabulosus on underside of Dogwood leaf, just below Mulberry. July 25, 2017, Leamington, Ontario.

Habitat: Sandy soil, sides of gravel (sabulosus) creeks.

Food: Adults apparently do not feed, but often found in Mulberry trees and the Silk Tree (Mimosa). In Mulberry in Leamington.

Flight Time: July

Life Cycle: Unknown. Larvae probably feed underground on worms, like other Photinus.

Comments: Essex County per photos. Found by Luk west end of Lake Ontario. Also in Ohio, but not Michigan.

Synonyms: Green 1956
None

References:
Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 1953-56, Vol. 28 by Green, pp. 579 to 580.
Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification, 2011 #16: Fireflies by Luk et al., pp. 35 to 52.
Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lightning Bugs 2017 by Faust, pp. 175 to 176.

Types:
Holotype as Photinus sabulosus male by Green, 1956. Type Locality: Baltimore, Maryland. In the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California. No photos.
Paratype from Athens, Ohio.

 

Photinus pyralis

The Big Dipper Firefly
Photinus pyralis

 

The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis on Queen Anne's Lace. July 08, 2014, Wheatley, Ontario.
The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis on Queen Anne’s Lace. July 08, 2014, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black, mouth dull reddish. Male has large eyes than female.
Antenna: Black, segments (11) slightly flattened. Tips of segments with faint white. Segment 2 very short.
Thorax (Pronotum): Somewhat triangular to semi-circular with front tip (base) squared. Black center spot, almost round with flattened front, widely surrounded on three sides by rose (reddish-orange) and at front (base) by yellow. Main ID: Black round spot does not extend to any border or edge.  Rest of pronotum yellowish, the yellowish somewhat translucent and may be slightly rose on front half (base). Underside mostly rose with some white.

The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis occasionally show up at moth lights. July 20, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.
The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis occasionally show up at moth lights. July 20, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings (Elytra): Oblong, blackish-brown, with uniform width golden margins. Center base of wings (scutellum) triangular, golden.
Legs: Thighs (femora) yellowish-brown, tips dark. Rest of legs brown.
Abdomen: Black on top side, lower margin of segments with yellowish-white line, more so on male. Underside of male segments 1 to 4 brown, side edges white. Segments 5 and 6 yellowish-white – flashes J-shaped yellow.
Underside of  female segments 1 to 4 brown; each segment has yellowish-white line on lower margin. Segment 5 yellowish-white (light organ), base sometimes has dark streaks. Segment 6 and tip golden brown.

The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis male feed on Trumpet Vine flower. July 09, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.
The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis male feed on Trumpet Vine flower. July 09, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.

Similar Species: Some of the darker Photinus marginellus may appear as faded P. pyralis, but the black spot at center is never as large or dark on P. marginellus.

Size: 10 to 14 mm.

Habitat: Meadows to urban gardens, parks and woods.

Food: Adults found on Queen Anne’s Lace and Trumpet Vine.

The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis male feed on Trumpet Vine flower. July 09, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.
The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis male feed on Trumpet Vine flower. July 09, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.

Flight Time: Early July to early August.

Life Cycle: Males emit long, distinctive J-shaped flash at dusk. Females respond with a flash, then mating takes place. Females lay eggs on or in the ground. Larvae live underground and feed on earthworms and other smaller insects. Adults tolerate light pollution, and come to lights at night; during the day they stay exposed on flowers, and man-made structures. Adults use

The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis female on Queen Anne's Lace. July 21, 2014, Wheatley, Ontario.
The Big Dipper Photinus pyralis female on Queen Anne’s Lace. July 21, 2014, Wheatley, Ontario.

‘reflex bleeding’, oozing fluid when disturbed or threatened. These defensive poisons attract the female Pennsylvanica Firefly Photuris pennsylvanica. She needs these chemicals for egg development and preys upon the Big Dipper males by copying flashes of their females. When the male lands, the  Pennsylvanica female consumes the Big Dipper male and the chemicals.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies 2005 and 2008 list of insects. Luk reported Photinus pyralis as new to Ojibway in 2010. Wheatley, 2013 and 2014 per photos.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page<!–nextpage–>

Synonyms: Linnaeus 1767
Lampyris pyralis, Lampyris rosata, Lampyris centrata, Photinus benignus

References:
Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1825-27, Vol. 5 by Say, pg. 163.
Additions et Corrections a la Faune Coleopterologique Quebec, 1877 by Provancher, pg. 16.
California Academy of Sciences, 1953-56, Vol. 28 by Green, pp. 582 to 583.
Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 1881-82, Vol. 9 by LeConte, pg. 35.
Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification, 2011 #16 Fireflies by Luk et al., pg. 51.
Beetles of Eastern North America, 2014 by Evans, pg. 236.
Ecology of Center City, Philadelphia, 2015, Chapter 12: Common Eastern Firefly by Frank, pp. 128 to 131.
Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lightning Bugs, 2017 by Faust, pg. 166.

Types:
Holotype as Photinus benignus male by LeConte, 1881. Type Locality: Dallas, Texas. In the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Type #2792. Photos.

Photinus marginellus

Pale Firefly
Photinus marginellus

 

White Firefly Photinus marginellus on grape leaf. July 26, 2014, Wheatley, Ontario.
White Firefly Photinus marginellus on grape leaf. July 26, 2014, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black; male eyes larger than female eyes.
Antenna: Brownish-black. Segments have faint white tip. 11 segments on both male and female. Segment 2 short.
Thorax (Pronotum): Center of thorax has a squarish, entirely rose or pinkish patch; seldom with a very small, obscure brown spot in middle of the rose. Rest of thorax yellow to white, somewhat translucent, surrounding the rose square on three sides. Lower margin may have a thin yellow to white line below the rose square, or rose square may extend to margin.

White Firefly Photinus marginellus on Tuliptree leaf. July 17, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
White Firefly Photinus marginellus on Tuliptree leaf. July 17, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings (Elytra): Long, white to light gray with wide golden margin on outside wing edges; iInner wing margin (suture) somewhat narrower. Sometimes wings have a few random black dots. Often the dark brown ‘real’ wings protrude past wing covers (elytra). Center of base of wings (scutellum) light reddish-brown, tip yellowish.
Note: both color forms are present in southwestern Ontario.
Legs: Thighs (femora) yellowish-brown, tips dark on darker individuals. Thighs whitish on white individuals. Rest of legs brownish-black on both color forms.

White Firefly Photinus marginellus male on underside of Tuliptree leaf. July 17, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
White Firefly Photinus marginellus male on underside of Tuliptree leaf. July 17, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

Abdomen:  Male top side has segments brown with white line on hind margin. Tip yellow. Female top side unknown.
Underside of male has segments 1 to 3 brown, segment 4 pale brownish, mottled, 5 and 6 whitish yellow (light organs). Tip pale yellowish-whitish.
Underside of female has segments brown, except light organ on middle of 5th segment. Tip brownish-yellow.

White Firefly Photinus marginellus on Sumac leaf. July 07, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.
White Firefly Photinus marginellus on Sumac leaf. July 07, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.

Similar Species: Some of the darker Photinus marginellus may appear as faded P. pyralis, but the black spot at center is never as large or dark on P. marginellus as it is on P. pyralis.

Size: 6.5 to 9 mm – both same size.

Habitat: Forests and meadows.

Food: Unknown

White Firefly Photinus marginellus quite often found at moth lights. July 04, 2012, Wheatley, Ontario.
White Firefly Photinus marginellus quite often found at moth lights. July 04, 2012, Wheatley, Ontario.

Flight Time: Late June to end of July

Life Cycle: Unknown. Preyed upon by Photuris pennsylvanica females.

Comments: One found in Welland, Niagara Peninsula. Wheatley, per photos 2006 to 2014.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Photinus indictus

Firefly
Photinus indictus

 

Firefly Photinus indictus female July 12, 2006. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus indictus female July 12, 2006. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black. Both male and female have small eyes.
Antenna: Black. Tip of each segment whitish. Male has first 3 or 4 segments wider than the female. 11 segments on both male and female. Segment 2 short.
Thorax (Pronotum): Semi-circular, hind margin slightly indented at center. Central black rectangle has mottled black stripe extending only across the rose along hind border. Black may bleed slightly into yellow at front tip (base). Rose or reddish-orange stripe each side of black area. Outside borders translucent yellow.

Firefly Photinus indictus male June 17, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus indictus male June 17, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings (Elytra): Black with slightly wider golden outer border. Inner wing border (suture) narrow gold. Center of base of wings (scutellum) large, black.
Legs: Brownish-black with brownish-yellow pile. Sometimes on thighs (femora) pile in a line on each side. Foot pads (underside) yellow.
Abdomen: Black with lower margin and side edges of each segment pale. No light organs on either male or female. Tip black, outlined with pale yellowish to white. Male tip square, female tip pointed. Non-flashing.

Size: 6 to 8 mm.

Firefly Photinus indictus male June 21, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus indictus male June 21, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.

Habitat: Meadows, field edges. Prefers tall grasses.

Food: Adults apparently do not feed.

Flight Time: Mid-June to mid-July.

Life Cycle: Unknown. Larvae probably live underground, coming to surface to feed on earthworms, slugs and snails as other Photinus.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park and Ojibway Prairies. Guelph to Hamilton area and Quebec.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Photinus consimilis

Firefly
Photinus consimilis

 

Firefly Photinus consimilis July 11, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus consimilis July 11, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black. Males have larger eyes than females. Mouth area brownish-yellow.
Antenna: Black; tip of each segment has faint white line. 11 segments on both male and female. Segment 2 short.
Thorax (Pronotum): Semi-circular. Hind margin nearly straight. Main ID: Dark rectangle down center of thorax, sides straight, extends but does not widen at hind margin. Rose, reddish-orange to pink stripes each side of black central rectangle are bright and not obscured with any other colour (no bleeding). Outside margins are pale translucent yellow, the yellow widest near hind margin outside corners. Sometimes the very outside edge with have faint, vague brownish lines or smudges, more so around front tip (base).

Firefly Photinus consimilis June 19, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus consimilis June 19, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings (Elytra): Black to dark brown-black; fairly long on both male and female. Golden stripe around wings, wider on outside edge. One raised, slanted ridge on each wing from shoulder to past mid-wing, angles in to inner wing margin (suture). Center of base of wings (scutellum) dark.
Legs: Black. Sometimes with golden pile. Foot pads (underside) yellow.
Abdomen: Top side entirely black, except female tip yellow. Male underside has last 2 segments pale (light organs) before dark tip. Flash pulses are amber.
Female underside has 2nd last segment pale (light organ) in center, sides brown. Sides and lower margin of last two segments have a yellowish line; tip rounded, pale. Double flash amber.

Firefly Photinus consimilis on Sedge flower head. June 29, 2005. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Photinus consimilis on Sedge flower head. June 29, 2005. Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: 8 to 13 mm.

Habitat: Wet forests, marshes, streams.

Food: Unknown.

Flight Time: Mid-June to end of July.

Life Cycle: Unknown. Larvae are probably sub-terrain and feed on earthworms and smaller insects.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park. Wheatley per photos.

Synonyms: Green 1956
None

References:
Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 1953-56, Vol. 28 by Green, pp. 606 to 609.
Checklist and Keys to Fireflies Alabama, 1990 by Lloyd, pg. 19.
Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification, 2011, #16 Fireflies by Luk, et al., pp. 38 to  45.
Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lightning Bugs, 2017 by Faust, pp. 132 to 135.

Types:
Holotype as Photinus consimilis male by Green, 1956. Type Locality: Roaring River State Park, In California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. Type #07677. No photo.
Paratype at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. No photo.

 

Pyropyga decipiens

Firefly
Pyropyga decipiens

 

Firefly Pyropyga decipiens on underside of Joe-Pye Weed with Red Velvet Mite. July 17, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Pyropyga decipiens on underside of Joe-Pye Weed with Red Velvet Mite. July 17, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black.
Antenna: Black, wide and flattened. Segment 2 very short.
Thorax (Pronotum): Almost semi-circular. Middle has a shiny, black stripe, very wide and extends to both front tip and widens at hind border. Each side of the black stripe has a rose patch. Outside edge, except the front tip (black) has a narrow, translucent yellow border.

Firefly Pyropyga decipiens on underside of Milkweed leaf Jun 22, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Pyropyga decipiens on underside of Milkweed leaf Jun 22, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings (Elytra): Entirely black. Each wing has a slight ridge or raised line down length of wing.
Legs: Entirely black.
Abdomen: Entirely black. No light organs. Non-flashing.

Similar Species: Pyropyga nigricans has black outside border on the thorax.

Size: 4.5 to 7 mm

Habitat: Prefers open areas like meadows and fields.

Fireflies Pyropyga decipiens mating on Milkweed leaf. June 14, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.
Fireflies Pyropyga decipiens mating on Milkweed leaf. June 14, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.

Food: Adults found feeding on Milkweed, Trumpet Vine and Cup Plant flowers in Wheatley.

Flight Time: Mid-June to mid-September

Life Cycle: Unknown. Larvae will feed on earthworms and gastropods in the lab. Dillon and Dillon (1961) report all Pyropyga, both adult and larvae, feed on other insects. Other entomologists have assumed one generation per year, overwintering as larvae.

Firefly Pyropyga decipiens feeding on Milkweed leaf. June 28, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Pyropyga decipiens feeding on Milkweed leaf. June 28, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies, 2011 per Luk. Wheatley per photos from 2004 to 2014.

Synonyms: Harris, 1836
Lampyris decipiens

References:
Transactions of the Natural History Society of Hartford, 1836 by Harris, pp. 74 to 75.
Beetles of Indiana 1910 by Blatchley, pp. 819 to 820.
Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 1918, Vol. 44 by Green, pp. 251 to 252.
The Coleopterists Bulletin 1961, Vol. 15 #3 by Green, pp. 66 to 72.
Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification, 2011 #16 Fireflies by Luk et al., pp. 76 to 78.

Types: Unknown

 

Pyractomena lucifera

Firefly
Pyractomena lucifera

 

Firefly Pyractomena lucifera came to moth lights, July 12, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Firefly Pyractomena lucifera came to moth lights, July 12, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black with rose or tan between eyes.
Antenna: Black, fairly short, reaching to end of thorax. 1st segment yellow. 2nd segment very short.
Thorax (Pronotum): Not as shield-like as other Pyractomena species; narrower, front tip more rounded. Raised line or ridge down center, front half sloped downward like other Pyractomena. Main ID: Entirely but lightly covered with yellowish pile. Middle dark patch is a narrow rectangle with rose patch at each side from mid thorax to hind margin. Rest yellow except for a brownish stripe along each side edge which is short and does not touch lower border of thorax.
Wings (Elytra): Brownish-black with yellow borders more indistinct or diffused. Borders not quite as wide as P. angulata. Main ID: Inside edge of wings (suture) also diffused, widening out at base and up the sides of the scutellum. Center of base (scutellum) has a black, shiny triangle with yellow tip.
Legs: Black with varying amounts of yellowish-tan streaks.
Abdomen: Black, narrower. Male has last 2 segments before tip yellow (light organs) on underside. Female has yellow underside with brown spot each side of center; last segment before tip yellow (light organ).

8 to 10 mm.

Habitat: Fresh water marshes, cattails.

Food: Adult food unknown.

Flight Time: June and July

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs on emergent vegetation in marshes. Larvae capture and feed on prey both above and below water line. Prefer snails, but will eat any small insect. Pupa formed above water line on vegetation. Larvae glow when moving. Females full of eggs usually do not fly.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park and Kingsville per Luk, 2011; Wheatley per photo July 12, 2013.
Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park per Luk, 2011.

Synonyms: Melsheimer 1845
None

References:
Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 1881-82, Vol. 9 by LeConte, pg. 34.
Florida Entomologist, 1984, Vol. 67 #4: Biology of the Firefly Pyractomena lucifera by Buschman, pp. 529 to 542.
Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification, 2011 #16 Fireflies by Luk et al., pp. 67 to 71.
Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lightning Bugs, 2014 by Faust, pp. 286 to 289.

Types: Unknown