Probably, many of us have observed such a picture when at night in a forest or field a bewitching “dance” of tiny lights is born.
Such a spectacle takes place thanks to insects belonging to the family of beetles called - fireflies.Fireflies (Lampyridae)
The appearance of fireflies
The head of these beetles is small in size with large eyes located on it. Antennae consist of 11 segments of short or moderate length. Attached to the forehead, they can be of various shapes, like comb, filiform or saw-shaped. The upper lip is quite well developed. The oral apparatus is reduced. The size, depending on the habitat, can range from 4 mm to 2 cm.
Firefly HabitatFireflies are common throughout the world.
Fireflies can be found all over the world. Today, scientists know over 2 thousand species of fireflies.
Despite their small size, these beetles are predators, and their diet does not include grass, but other insects and their larvae. It can be ants, spiders, snails, in general, the victim can be someone who, when attacked by a firefly, will not show him proper resistance.Fireflies are predatory insects.
In the daytime, fireflies prefer to hide in the grass or in moss. But at night, they go hunting. It is at this time of day that a glow emanates from them. Why is this happening? The fact is that fireflies have special organs located below the abdomen. The composition of these organs includes photogenic cells, as well as reflectors located beneath them, the filler of which is uric acid crystals. During the oxidation process, a glow is born that is used by bugs not only as protection against predators, but also to attract females.Fireflies form real garlands, iridescent with different colors in the night.
The glow emanating from the fireflies can be not only of different strengths, but also vary in duration. In any case, the light is almost always greenish or yellow - red.
In the mating season, beetles go to meet someone who wishes to pair with him. These bugs have an interesting feature. The fact is that, depending on the type of firefly, the outgoing light has a certain frequency, which allows mating individuals of beetles belonging to the same species.
The main choice of partner lies with the female beetle. It is by the nature of the glow emanating from the individual male, which depends on the frequency of flicker and brightness, the female determines her pair. The beetle who shines brighter and flickers more often has more chances.
For example, in the tropics, to conquer the "ladies", males organize whole "discos" with lighting effects. They simultaneously perform their "serenades" and light and extinguish their flashlights.
However, such beauty may prove fatal for the male. Sometimes a female gives her light sign to attract a male belonging to another species. The seductor who has flown in is simply eaten by the female.
After fertilization, females lay eggs, after which very gluttonous larvae appear after some time. At the time of birth, the color of their bodies is black with yellow spots.Bioluminescence is an amazing sight!
By the way, while still in such a small stage of development, they are already able to glow, like their parents.
When autumn comes, the larvae hide in the tree bark, where they spend the whole winter in hibernation. But waking up in the spring, after several weeks of feeding, they pupate. Then, after two and a half weeks, the development of new adult fireflies.
Enemies of fireflies
In principle, this beetle has practically no enemies, since a glow is used to protect it from predators, warning that the object is inedible. But in Japan, the fireflies that live there are protected by the government.