Lucidota atra

Black Firefly
Lucidota atra

Black Firefly Lucidota atra June 21, 2007. Wheatley, Ontario.
Black Firefly Lucidota atra June 21, 2007. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black.
Antenna: Black, flattened, knife-like (serrated). Segment 2 is extremely short, barely visible. 11 segments on both male and female.
Thorax (Pronotum): Triangular, front (base) extended, slightly rounded at tip. Center has wide black stripe, narrowing to front edge. Sides yellow with small rose to red blotch inward from the yellow.

Black Firefly Lucidota atra with attached Red Velvet Mite on Milkweed flower Jun 22, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.
Black Firefly Lucidota atra with attached Red Velvet Mite on Milkweed flower Jun 22, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings (Elytra): Dull black with 4 to 5 faint, raised lines (barely visible). Female larger than male.
Legs: Black, foot pads on underside whitish.
Abdomen: Black, segments wider at lower margin, appears knife-like (serrated). Faint yellow spot on last segment of female; yellow spots on last 2 segments of male. Does not flash, no light organs.

Similar Species:
Exactly like Pyropyga decipiens, except larger and has a “V” shaped pronotum whereas P. decipiens has a “U” shaped, or much more rounded pronotum. Border of pronotum is yellow on L. atra, translucent yellow on P. decipiens. Antenna on P. decipiens segment 2 is longer, visible.

Lucidota punctata is very small (6 mm) and has black along sides and lower margin of thorax (pronotum).

Black Fireflies Lucidota atra mating July 18, 2009. Wheatley, Ontario.
Black Fireflies Lucidota atra mating July 18, 2009. Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: 8 to 11 mm. Larva 13 to 15 mm.

Habitat: Forests, marshes with trees.

Food: Adults eat nectar from Milkweed, Queen Anne’s Lace

Flight Time: June to mid-August.

Black Firefly Lucidota atra larva found under bark of old log. March 21, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.
Black Firefly Lucidota atra larva found under bark of old log. March 21, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs in rotting wood and stumps. Larvae produce light (as all fireflies do). Larvae over-winter.
Parasite: Scuttle Fly Apocephalus antennatus and Red Velvet Mite Parasitenogna species per photos.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Widespread in Ontario.

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

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