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

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