black firefly

(Lucidota atra)

Conservation Status
black firefly
Photo by Babette Kis
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

 
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Black firefly is a medium-sized typical firefly. It occurs in the United States and southern Canada east of the Great Plains. It is common in Minnesota. Larvae live in decaying wood, in leaf litter, under stones, and in other moist areas. They prey on soft-bodied invertebrates, including snails and slugs. Adults are found from late May to July in shady open woodlands.

Adults are soft-bodied, flattened, and 5 16 to ½ (7.5 to 13.0 mm) long.

The head is covered by the exoskeletal plate over the thorax (pronotum). On both sexes the eyes are small and well separated. The mouthparts are directed downward. The antennae are black, have 11 segments, and gradually narrow toward the tip. The segments are thick, broadly triangular, strongly flattened, and straight across at the tip, not saw-toothed. They are never branched. The first segment is longer than the third. The second segment is very short, much wider than long.

The pronotum is flat, not saddle-shaped, and broad, nearly as wide at the base as the forewings (elytra). It is black in the middle, orange or pink on the sides, with broad pale margins. The front of the pronotum is rounded, extended forward, and completely covers the head, though the head may be extended beyond it.

The elytra are leathery and entirely black, without pale margins. The upper surface is finely granular and there is a weak raised ridge mostly near the base. The lateral margins are flattened. On the underside of the abdomen of the female there is a pair of small yellowish light organs on the last abdominal segment. On the male they are on the last two segments.

The legs are black. The last part of each leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments but the fourth segment is minute and is concealed within the lobes of the heart-shaped third segment, making it appear that there are only four segments. There is a pair of claws at the end of the last segment. The claws are not toothed or split.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

5 16 to ½ (7.5 to 13.0 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Shady open woodlands

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late May to July

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active during the day.

Males do not flash except sometimes for one or two days after emerging. They fly in shady areas and rest on low vegetation and tree trunks.

When threatened, they exude a milky juice from their abdomen and their legs.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Adults emerge beginning in late May.

Having lost bioluminescence through evolution, black firefly uses pheromones to find a mate.

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Soft-bodied invertebrates

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30, 82.

 
  8/21/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Coleoptera (beetles)  
 

Suborder

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, long-horned, leaf, and snout beetles)  
 

Infraorder

Elateriformia  
 

Superfamily

Elateroidea (click, firefy, and soldier beetles)  
 

Family

Lampyridae (fireflies)  
 

Subfamily

Lampyrinae (typical fireflies)  
 

Tribe

Lucidotini  
 

Genus

Lucidota  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

black firefly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Elytra

The hardened or leathery forewings of beetles used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying. Singular: elytron.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.
 
 

Babette Kis

 
 

Lucidota atra black firefly

Lucidota atra Barnes Prairie Racine Co. WI June 25, 2020

 
    black firefly      
           
 

Lucidota atra black firefly on Cornus racemosa, gray dogwood flowers June 7, 2021

 
    black firefly      
           
 

Lucidota atra black firefly Barnes Prairie near hedgerow July 15, 2022

 
    black firefly      
 

Greg Watson

 
    black firefly      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
 
     
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.
 
 

 

 
     
     
       
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Black Firefly (Lampyridae: Lucidota atra) Taking Flight
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Jun 18, 2010

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (16 June 2010). Go here to read more about this species: http://bugguide.net/node/view/5361

 
  Black Firefly (Lampyridae: Lucidota atra) on Leaf
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Jul 2, 2011

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (29 June 2011).

 
  Black firefly (Lucidota atra) on black-capped raspberries, 6/25/20
She Who Tends the Woods
 
   
 
About

Jun 28, 2020

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Babette Kis
7/15/2022

Location: Barnes Prairie, Racine Co., WI

near hedgerow

black firefly  
  Greg Watson
6/28/2022

Location: Great River Bluffs State Park

black firefly  
  Babette Kis
6/7/2021

Location: Barnes Prairie, Racine Co., WI

on Cornus racemosa, gray dogwood flowers

black firefly  
  Babette Kis
6/25/2020

Location: Barnes Prairie, Racine Co., WI

 

black firefly  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 8/21/2022

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2022 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.