Pyractomena lucifera

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.

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

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