Where in the world can you find the twinkling lights of Photinus pyralis?

As a child, did you have the opportunity to catch lightning bugs in a jar? If you lived in a region where these bioluminescent creatures lived, you remember frantically running around your backyard or fields of tall grass capturing them in jars as they lit up the night. In general, fireflies live in tropical and more temperate regions all over the world (Firefly, 2009). Not only do they reside in Wisconsin, but they can be found in warm and moist environments from North America all the way to Asia. Fireflies tend to thrive where bodies of water meet with fields of tall grass, such as lakes, rivers, marshes, and ponds (Firefly, 2009). In the drier areas, fireflies will be found around more wet and damp areas that seem to retain moisture. Fireflies can also be generally seen in open areas of vegetation, such as fields and areas with tall grasses. Because they love the moisture and humidity, they tend to appear after a daytime rain. The adult fireflies live a more diverse lifestyle than their larvae.

Firefly in Meadow By: firefly.orgAdult fireflies reside above ground, unlike their larvae, which allows them to live in more diverse environments. They can be found lighting up environments like forests, fields, meadows, and marshes. Various plants are used for shelter, such as grass, shrubs, and low trees (Lewis & Crastley, 2008). These protective shelters hide them from their predators, birds and frogs, which also generally share the same environments. Since these insects are nocturnal, during the day, they spend most of their time on the ground (Marshall, 2006). However, after the sun sets, the firefly can be seen flashing their bioluminescent mating calls all through the night while they fly from flowers to blades of grass to trees. This light producing capability aids in the search of a mate, which you can learn more about on the reproduction page. Fireflies fill the niche of predators in their typical environment (Rios & Quinta, 2010). Of the adult fireflies that do eat, they eat much smaller insects that linger around the grounds of fields. To learn more about the diets of adult fireflies, visit the nutrition page. The firefly larvae also fill this niche, but in their underground environment.

The firefly larvae typically live in chambers in the soil underground (Swan & Papp, 1972). Granted, they only spend their larval stage underground; the majority of their lives are spent above ground. They can also be found in rotting wood and leaf litter, especially when they are looking for prey that lives in the same environment. Other organisms, like earthworms and slugs, reside in the larvae’s environment. This is beneficial for the larvae due to the convenience of their dietary needs. To learn more about what larvae eat, visit the nutrition page. Female fireflies lay their eggs just below the surface in the soil in meadows; this is where the larvae grow into adulthood (Ballantyne, 1987). So, fireflies spend a part of their lives living underground, while they grow and mature, around different organisms. Then, they emerge in the spring time and begin their lives as adult fireflies.

For a more specific look at what a firefly habitat may include, check out this webpage!