Common Name: Fireflies (Lightning Bugs)

Type: Insect / Bugs


Range: Fireflies are a kind of beetle that is known for their glowing and flashing abilities which have given them the substitute name as lightening bugs. Fireflies love to stay at warm and humid areas. Due to this, they flourish in the tropical regions and temperate zones. The greatest numbers of firefly species are available in the warm and humid areas. They are found in each regions of the world even at the dry regions except Antarctica. Fireflies flourish in the forests, fields and marshes near rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and pools. They require moist surroundings to survive. The largest number of firefly species is found in hot and sub-tropical Asia, Central and South America. They can be found through out the Costa Rica including Alejuela, Arenal, Monteverde and Montezuma/Mal Pais, Puntarenes, Jaco and in the National Parks.

Size: They can get a size up to 1 inch (2.5 centimeter)

Weight: Firefly beetles weight is on an average, about 20 grams (less than an ounce)

Diet: Fireflies are omnivores. Their diet consists mainly of snails, slugs, and earthworms as they are in the process of development as larvae. Adults eat on plant nectar. Most of the species of fireflies do not eat at all. But those who need feeding mostly feed on pollen and nectar.

Average life span: Fireflies have a shortest lifespan. Many fireflies only live 2 to 3 days. They can live up to 3 months but it is unlikely. Their Average life span in the wild is around 2 months.

Habitat: Fireflies having a number of tropical and humid environments all over the world. Number of fireflies makes habitat around marshes, damp and the wooded areas. Normally most firefly species are nocturnal insects, that means is meaning that they are active in night, although some are active during the day. Generally they not the glowing icon but they are able to emit a small amount of light. Some species of firefly larvae are aquatic and they even have gills, while others reside entirely in trees.

Breeding/Reproduction: Adult fireflies appear during the summer months and dedicate all of their short adult lives for courtship. The Males take flight and emit flashes that differ species to species for color, length, rate, and strength of light pulses. The duration, number and the response of female are important in recognizing mates. Females generally have small wings or wingless and they fly very little. They will generally sit on plants or grass and respond to the males from there.
The female laid their eggs in humid soil, a deceased log, or moss. In about two weeks, the eggs hatch and larvae appear. The larvae are wingless. The head is small, generally retracted, with curved mandibles.The larvae emerge a few weeks later as adults.

Fireflies are the insects in the family of Lampyridae. Their common names are fireflies and lightning bugs. They have a cold light at their backside and they use this light to capture prey or to attract mates. The glow of the female firefly is much more than that of male firefly. The females glow up their lights in different patterns to attract males. In the daytime the fireflies are completely incapable of producing light. Different species produce different colored lights.

There are about two thousand species of fireflies. The rainforests of Costa Rica are good places to see them. They can be seen their very easily. More than 170 species of fireflies can be found in these forests of Costa Rica and natural reserve and National Parks are best habitat.

They have a long body shape and their wings have strips. They have large eyes but these eyes can’t be seen directly. If someone wants to see their eyes he has to see them from a side or from below because their heads cover them up so it is difficult to see them. They can range in size from a half centimeter to an inch. The fireflies have a brown color and have soft bodies.

Few days after mating the eggs are laid by the females on the ground or a few centimeters under the ground. The hatching of eggs requires three to four weeks and then the larvae feed until the end of summer. After feeding for many weeks the larvae pupate for about one to two and a half weeks. Almost 500 eggs are laid by each female annually.

The Fireflies are fond of moisture and they live in the areas where there is high humidity level. They try to stay near water. They live in open fields and forests where conditions for them are favorable.

Most of the species of fireflies do not eat at all. But those who need feeding mostly feed on pollen and nectar. The larvae found in the ground feeds on snails and other small insects. The objective of their life is mating and reproducing so that their species does not become extinct.

There are many threats for the lives of Fireflies. The studies have shown that they are disappearing due to human activities. The race of advancement and light population are the two important causes of their deaths. Fireflies use their lights to communicate with each other but the traffic lights and all other lights which are effects of human activities disturb their communication. It is difficult for them to contact each other in the presence of so much light.

What we can do to protect them is to turnoff extra lights at night. Do not clear the woods. Their habitat should not be destroyed. They are the beauty of nature and protecting them is our duty.

Although the fireflies are getting extinct we can still see them in Costa Rica. It is still a home to them. They can be found near water in Costa Rica.

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