Photinus marginellus Classification
Domain- Eukarya
Kingdom- Animalia
Phylum- Arthropoda
Class- Insecta
Order- Coleoptera
Family- Lampyridae
Genus- Photinus
Species- marginellus
        Photinus marginellus is a eukaryote due to its cells containing a membrane bound nucleus. This organism, therefore, has specialized organelles, which aid in complete cell divisions, and also provide proper energy to the organism.
     The Animalia kingdom includes all animals which are multicellular organisms, that do not acquire photosynthesis. Animalia are therefore, heterotrophic and lack cell walls. (For example of another organism that falls under the Animalia kingdom click here).
    The Phylum Arthropoda includes all insects, and the insects under this category all contain a chitinous exoskeleton, which is used for protection, segmented joints, and muscle attachment. Therefore, the Photinus marginellus can molt out of old skeletons in order to increase in size.
       The organisms that fall under the Class Insecta are all considered insects specifically. The insects are the most abundant class among the living species on the earth. (Click here for another example of an organism that falls under the Insecta class).
To fall under the Order Coleoptera, the organism has “sheath wings”, which are defined as the hardened wings that cover the organism’s body for needs of protection (Hadley, 2010). The Photinus marginellus have wings that cover their entire thorax and abdomen. These are the sheath wings of the organism.
       The Family Lampryidae is a very precise term to describe a firefly. Lampryidae or lampyrids, are also called “lightning bugs” due to their bioluminescence when attracting prey (Srour, 2011).
    The Genus and Species of Photinus marginellus concludes that the organism is a firefly. Photinus is also known as a “lighting beetle”, in the English translation.

Permission granted: Kathrin Stranger-Hall

      The phylogenetic tree above (Fig 3) depicts a global analysis of geographical locations of Lampyridae based on continent. This phylogeny begins through the common recent ancestor: a Lampyridae, which are a group of organisms specified as fireflies, and to whom use light signals for attracting prey (Srour, 2011). However, this phylogeny is based primarily off of location. Geography is not an ideal predictor for a phylogeny in lamyprids due to the inconsistencies the tree depicts (Stranger-Hall et al., 2007). An inconsistency of the tree includes that neither the Asian, European, nor North American taxa form monophyletic groups (Fig 3). Also, some individual genera of the North American lampyrids form sister groups with those of the Asian, European and Tropical America lampyrid.  Aside from the few major discrepancies in the tree, it does, however, show strongly supported clades, and Photinus being one of them (Stranger-Hall et al., 2007). Although Photinus marginellus is not a specific taxa specified on the tree, it is closely related to the Photinus pyralis. Based on the tree data, the Photinus marginellus is located primarily in North America.

      The phylogenetic tree below (Fig 4) depicts the sexual signal modes of the Lampryidae. The recent ancestor of the first lampyrid is believed to have evolved the flashing/glowing response to mating. Like stated for the tree above, the Photinus marginellus is not specifically stated as a taxa, but is closely related to the Photinus pyralis, which is specifically stated. Therefore, the Photinus marginellus falls under the green phylogenetic group. This phylogenetic tree also depicts genetic data, so there are not any distinguishable discrepencies within the tree. The same recent ancestor of the lampryidae family evolved to expressing a light source for adaptation. The organisms stated in green, flash a bioluminescent light to attract their prey (Stranger-Hall et al., 2007).  Many Photinus organisms have specific flash patterns, which are unique to their species. These flash patterns of the Photinus marginellus are used to attract a mate, and to use as warning displays for survival (Branham, 2005).  The unique flash patterns are also used for determining the gender of the firefly. The female Photinus marginellus only have light organelles on the last two segments of their abdomen, while the male have a more broad and larger range. Female fireflies choose their mate based off the flash pattern of the male, the longer and more intense the pattern, the more likely the male will be chosen for sexual selection (Branham, 2005).

Permission granted: Kathrin Stranger-Hall

      The classification of the Photinus marginellus explains the ancestral connections linking the characters and behaviors the organism has been able to develop for survival. Their bioluminescent glow is an adaptation that has evolved for survival and reproduction, and has allowed for the Photinus marginellus to find a home in many different habitats.

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