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Some species, especially lightning bugs of the genera Photinus , Photuris , and Pyractomena , are distinguished by the unique courtship flash patterns emitted by flying males in search of females. In general, females of the genus Photinus do not fly, but do give a flash response to males of their own species. Tropical fireflies, in particular, in Southeast Asia, routinely synchronise their flashes among large groups. This phenomenon is explained as phase synchronization [18] and spontaneous order. At night along river banks in the Malaysian jungles, fireflies synchronize their light emissions precisely.

Current hypotheses about the causes of this behavior involve diet, social interaction, and altitude. In the Philippines, thousands of fireflies can be seen all year-round in the town of Donsol called aninipot or totonbalagon in Bicol. In the United States, one of the most famous sightings of fireflies blinking in unison occurs annually near Elkmont, Tennessee , in the Great Smoky Mountains during the first weeks of June.

Female Photuris fireflies are known for mimicking the photic signaling patterns of other fireflies for the sole purpose of predation ; they often prey upon smaller Photinus fireflies. For this reason, Photuris species are sometimes referred to as " femme fatale fireflies". Many fireflies do not produce light. Usually these species are diurnal, or day-flying, such as those in the genus Ellychnia.

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A few diurnal fireflies that inhabit primarily shadowy places, such as beneath tall plants or trees, are luminescent. One such genus is Lucidota. Non-bioluminescent fireflies use pheromones to signal mates. This is supported by the fact that some basal groups do not show bioluminescence and use chemical signaling, instead. Phosphaenus hemipterus has photic organs, yet is a diurnal firefly and displays large antennae and small eyes.

These traits strongly suggest pheromones are used for sexual selection, while photic organs are used for warning signals. In controlled experiments, males coming from downwind arrived at females first, indicating males travel upwind along a pheromone plume. Males were also found to be able to find females without the use of visual cues, when the sides of test Petri dishes were covered with black tape.

This and the facts that females do not light up at night and males are diurnal point to the conclusion that sexual communication in P. Firefly systematics , as with many insects, are in a constant state of flux, as new species continue to be discovered.


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The five subfamilies listed above are the most commonly accepted ones, though others, such as the Amydetinae and Psilocladinae, have been proposed. This was mainly done in an attempt to revise the Lampyrinae , which bit by bit had become something of a " wastebin taxon " to hold incertae sedis species and genera of fireflies.

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Other changes have been proposed, such as merging the Ototretinae into the Luciolinae , but the arrangement used here appears to be the most frequently seen and stable layout for the time being. Though most groups appear to be monophyletic , some e. Two groups of subfamilies seem to exist: one containing many American and some Eurasian species in the Lampyrinae and Photurinae; and one, predominantly Asian, made up from the other subfamilies. While the subfamilies as understood here are, in general, monophyletic , a few genera still need to be moved for the subfamilies to accurately represent the evolutionary relationships among the fireflies.

The Rhagophthalmidae are a glow-worm-like lineage of Elateroidea. They have in the recent past usually been considered a distinct family, but whether this is correct is still disputed. Indeed, they might be the only close relative of the puzzling firefly genus Pterotus , which sometimes is placed in a monotypic subfamily. The genus Phausis , usually placed in the tribe Photinini of the Lampyrinae, might represent another rather distinct lineage instead. Firefly populations are declining worldwide, for a variety of reasons. Finally, since fireflies depend on their own light to reproduce [25] they are also very sensitive to environmental levels of light and consequently to light pollution.

Fireflies are charismatic which is a rare quality amongst insects and are easily spotted by non-experts, providing thus good flagship species to attract public attention; good investigation models for the effects of light on nocturnal wildlife; and finally, due to their sensibility and rapid response to environmental changes, good bioindicators for artificial night lighting. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the family of insects. For the television series, see Firefly TV series.

For other uses, see Firefly disambiguation. Play media. Further information: Bioluminescence. Retrieved on 22 June Photochemistry and Photobiology. Retrieved 19 July Science Daily 27 June Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. Retrieved 22 June In Meyer-Rochow, V. Bioluminescence in Focus. Research Signpost: Kerala.


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January Annual Review of Entomology. December We select some of the best Luxury accommodation South Africa has to offer.

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Whether you book a 5-star luxury villa or quaint home away from home, you receive the same five-star FIREFLY guest service to ensure your perfect getaway experience is a memorable and stress free one. We have Hermanus holiday homes that welcomes couples, large family reunions and wedding guests. If you are looking for a relaxing seaside retreat in South Africa we have a home perfect for your Hermanus beach rental. Climbing the culinary ladder, Hermanus is turning on the heat in the restaurant steaks.

Hermanus offers fine dining through to casual pub grub. Spend lazy afternoons gazing at the sea views or treat your taste buds to a delicious homemade country market breakfast.

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With so many things to do in Hermanus you will have a limitless supply of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy; ranging from a few hours of adventure to day trips along the coast. Hemel-en-Aarde wine route is home to some the best winning wine farms in western cape. A wine tasting experience will leave you astounded and wanting just a little bit more. Hop on a Whale cruise for an unforgettable sea adventure. Whale season runs from July to December which is the best time for whale watching.

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Christoph Kotze - African Skies and Fireflies

Abstract Luciola discicollis Castelnau is normally found in moist grasslands near or away from bodies of water. Issue Section:. You do not currently have access to this article. Download all figures. Comments 0. Add comment Close comment form modal.