Ellychnia corrusca

Winter Firefly
Ellychnia corrusca

e-LICK- nee-a  cor-ROOs-caw

Winter Firefly Ellychnia corrusca eating a lichen May 06, 2004 at Kopengaron Woods, Leamington, Ontario.
Winter Firefly Ellychnia corrusca eating a lichen May 06, 2004 at Kopengaron Woods, Leamington, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black with small eyes, lower face long.
Antenna: Black, slightly hairy (11 segments). Segment 2 is shorter than all others.
Thorax (Pronotum): Black, semi-circular. Round central black area narrows and extends to front tip (base). On each side of the center black area, a rose-colored, slightly curved stripe (often called a comma) extends entire length of thorax. Outside edge of thorax black. Sometimes the thorax is more brown than black, and the comma with more yellow mixed in.

Winter Firefly Ellychnia corrusca May 23, 2007. Wheatley, Ontario.
Winter Firefly Ellychnia corrusca May 23, 2007. Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings: (Elytra): Oblong, brownish-black with some golden hairs. 3 to 4 faint ridges running down each wing. Some individuals have light brown wings.
Legs: Entirely black, pads under feet yellowish to whitish.
Abdomen: Entirely black – no light organs.

Size: 10 to 18 mm. Largest firefly.

Habitat: Wet forests with marshy areas.

Food: Adults feed on lichens, Maple sap and  maple flower buds.

Flight Time: Early April to June; again in September.

Winter Fireflies Ellychnia corrusca mating on leaf, Jun 20, 2001 Celista B.C.
Winter Fireflies Ellychnia corrusca mating on leaf, Jun 20, 2001 Celista B.C.

Life Cycle: Mating to mid-May (6 weeks). Females lay eggs in rotting wood. Adults die in late spring. Eggs hatch in 16 days and feed on insects in rotting wood. Pupate and emerge as adults in early fall. Considered to have no light organs, but some newly emerged adults have a faint light for a few days in the fall; larvae and pupa can also emit light. Active during the day. Adults hibernate in groups during the winter in moss, rotting wood and under bark, quite often reusing theses hibernation spots year after year. Found on trees, especially Maples with sap flow in early spring. Adults will ‘reflex bleed’ a milky substance from their legs if disturbed, as all other fireflies.

Winter Fireflies Ellychnia corrusca Jul 01, 2001 Celista B.C.
Winter Fireflies Ellychnia corrusca Jul 01, 2001 Celista B.C.

Predators: Tachinid fly Strongygaster triangulifer and Scuttle Phorid Fly Apocephalus antennatus.

Comments: Essex – Point Pelee National Park. Kent – Rondeau Provincial Park. Widespread across Ontario and Canada.

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

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